“[There might have been] a cartoon of someone vomiting.”

—Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, on the humiliating experience of breaking into his college literary journal’s office and discovering his defaced poetry submission in the reject pile, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review



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 “If you want to blame me [for] the death of Christmas, be my guest.”Hatchimals

 —Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, who bought $23,000 worth of the season’s must-have toy, Hatchimals, intending to resell them on eBay to raise funds for a legal defense fund for an allegedly wrongfully convicted man, in the Guardian. Parents are calling Gruen a “Grinch” for hoarding the Hatchimals and marking them up to $200 apiece (retail: $49.99).


 “[A] reminder that, even in the wake of Brexit, bad sex knows no borders.”

 —Judges of the 2016 Bad Sex in Fiction Award on this year’s winner, Italian novelist Erri De Luca, who, in one example, describes two copulating characters as “ballet dancers hovering en pointe,” at CBS News


Rebecca Mead-Field Notes “It sometimes felt like there was little time for Books I Loved this year, what with staying on top of the all-consuming Twitter Feed I Hated. But some of the reading that I did (in actual books, on real paper—what a relief) took me away from the appalling questions that the news was raising, questions like ‘So is this what American fascism looks like?’ or ‘Wait, what happened to my E.U. citizenship?’ or, simply, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’”

—Rebecca Mead, New Yorker staff writer and author of My Life in Middlemarch, in “The Books We Loved in 2016”


“Far worse than the map turning red, far worse than the shame and sadness of realizing our own limited points of view, is the fact that this Lauren Wein chapter might have been lifted from another book entirely—one by Bertolt Brecht or George Orwell or Gunter Grass....America is not a beach read—we must always be mindful, vigilant, on alert, must read with red pen in hand.”

—Lauren Wein, executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, “Why Donald Trump’s Election Is Like a Book—The Problem Is We’ve Read It Before” in the Forward

The photo above of Rebecca Mead is by Elizabeth C. Prochnik.