Lit Bitters: A Bookish Digestif for Your Week

orange cocktail
Photo by Adam Jaime

This week, Twitter has been twittering about author Alexander Chee’s Tin House essay on his personal experiences with gin, which is now available to read online. (Ultimate takeaway: Negronis rule.)

Verso Books is currently having a quite incredible 90% off all ebooks sale, which ends up working out to around $1 per ebook. Their ebooks are compatible with all devices, and you can download them or have them emailed to you directly from the site. The sale continues for the rest of today (July 28), through 23:59 Pacific Time.

Here are a few titles I picked up (and that you can, too) that I’m excited about:

Incidentally, Eka Kurniawan has a new book coming out in English next week from New Directions, translated from the Indonesian by Annie Tucker, with the utterly fantastic title Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash.

In bigger-league news, the Man Booker prize longlist has been announced and it includes the latest offerings from Paul Auster, Colson Whitehead, George Saunders, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith and Arundhati Roy.

Michiko Kakutani, the book critic at The New York Times, has announced that she’s stepping down from reviewing. At different times and to different people, Kakutani has been known as a terrifying, heroic and unconventional presence in modern literature. Last year, she made waves with her review of Volker Ullrich’s Hitler: Ascent, 1889-1939, in which many people believed she was attacking Trump. I wrote a post dissecting this and applying it to broader questions about what book reviews should (or shouldn’t) be.

You can now read an excerpt from Tariq Goddard’s new novel, Nature and Necessity, a weird and risky book that reminds me a bit of Chabrol’s work, at Lit Hub. I wrote about Nature and Necessity last week: Read my full review here and my shorter review on Amazon.

This week, I wrote about Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses, which came out in Helen Stevenson’s translation from the French earlier this year. If you’re not following Alain Mabanckou on Twitter (@amabanckou), you really should be. He posts photos of his travels, retweets messages from fans and is an incredibly spiffy dresser—most of which you can enjoy even if you don’t understand any French.

Next week, you’ll be able to read my review of Jonathan Hunt’s translation of Anna by Niccolò Ammaniti, coming out on August 3rd from Canongate. From now on, I’ll be reviewing (at least) one new or upcoming book per week, and checking in with weekly updates like this one.

In the meantime, if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider following me on Twitter. Cheers!

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