Hinting at Meaning: Friday Book Club Round-Up


We’ve compiled links to footage of several interviews with Jim Shepard, whose You Think That’s Bad is our February Book Club pick.

Truthdig has posted an excerpt of Andrew Foster Altschul‘s new novel Deus Ex Machina. The scene shows a Lost-type reality show about to start its 13th season: “Early this morning: a flash of light in the tropical sky, a trail of dark smoke as an airliner plunged into the sea. Soon, the survivors washed up bloody and battered on a tiny island far from civilization. While production assistants and tape loggers cheered them on, the Deserted built a shelter, ransacked the flotsam luggage, took stock of one another. Storm clouds gathered. Sharks circled off the shore.” But what’s going on behind the scenes?

Many despise Tao Lin‘s dry prose and his book Richard Yates‘s seemingly vacant emotional landscape. But as a review in Vassar’s The Miscelleny News demonstrates, Lin has managed to strike a chord with cyber-saturated younger generations. “Lin’s style is effective because he is very good at hinting at meaning,” writes reviewer Mikko Harvey.

John Brandon‘s Citrus County “is a stunner,” writes critic Betsy Taylor.  We already knew that; it was our first Book Club pick, after-all. But in case you want another rave review, here’s Taylor’s from the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

The Millions published an article about the cult of the prodigy child; how novelists by the dozens, it seems, seem transfixed by messiah-like kids in our midst. Take Adam Levin‘s The Instructions, which The Millions deems “the Only Kid Genius Novel You’ll Ever Need”: protagonist Gurion Maccabee is witty, adept at martial arts, and quite ambitious (and read the novel to find out just how ambitious).

Maddie Oatman has interviewed musicians and writers for The Rumpus. She's the research editor at Mother Jones, where she also writes. A Boulder transplant, she can often be found on her bike, skis, or cooking with vegetables, and she wrote her English thesis on a gay red-winged monster and Billy the Kid. Follow her on Twitter or read occasional musings on her blog Oats. More from this author →