Today in books and publishing: Junot Díaz chats with The New Yorker; the worst history books in print; a literary prize goes anonymous; and the Library of America introduces you to 50s American sci-fi.
Junot Díaz on cheating. The New Yorker is set to publish a new short story by Junot Díaz, and they have an interview with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. A story about the repercussions of infidelity, "The Cheater’s Guide to Love" is an excerpt from Díaz's upcoming collection of linked shorts This is How You Lose Her. Díaz says that the unfaithful character Yunior, the same narrator who guided readers through The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, "suffers from that most typical of masculine deficiencies: an inability or unwillingness to imagine the women in his life as fully human." If you have a New Yorker subscription, you can read his new story here. [The New Yorker]
Rewriting History. The results are in from a History News Network poll which asked readers to name the least credible history book currently in print. David Barton's The Jefferson Lies was cited as the most factually inaccurate, with Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States trailing close behind. An interesting debate flared up in the comments about the results: most agree that Barton's book contains wild errors, but some hesitantly defended Zinn's revisionist take on American history. "I don't really enjoy defending Zinn," wrote one commenter, "but the other four are clearly on a different level of awful. Zinn is tendentious and strident and polemical and over-simplifies everything—but the others are obviously all worse." [History News Network]
What's in a name? Past winners of the Costa Book Award include recognizable names like Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Zadie Smith (White Teeth) and Colm Tóibín (Brooklyn). But for this year's short story award, Costa has decided to strip names from the competition entirely. Hopefuls will submit their stories anonymously, and the public will vote on who wins. With factors like publishing history, age, race and gender obscured from the proceedings, it'll be interesting to see who wins this popular British prize. [The Guardian]
Exploring Atomic Age sci-fi. The Library of America just launched a companion site to their new collection of 1950s American science fiction. It's not just a shrewd marketing campaign—it's also a helpful introduction for anyone interested in learning about the genre's place in post-war America. The site features essays from editor Gary K. Wolfe, a gallery of vintage book covers, and a detailed timeline of significant milestones in '50s science fiction. [Library of America]
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