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August 25, 2016      

Notes From Elsewhere: Popular Books by State, Panels Merger, Literary Podcasts + More

Greetings, Rioters! We’re winding down summer, so soak up the A/C where you can, and let’s dive into some interesting literary links.

Speaking of the the approaching autumn, Wendy C. Ortiz has a new book coming out on Halloween: the appropriately named Bruja (published by Civil Coping Mechanisms), and I’m excited to read it. I’d show you the cover, done by an artist also named Wendy Ortiz, but I’m having trouble with the uploader at the moment. Click on through for the artwork/description.

The comics site Panels is officially folding into Book Riot‘s site, rather than being a standalone sister-site, starting September 6th. So let’s take a look at some good things I’ve seen at both sites lately:

What do you think the most popular book in your state is? Thriftbooks can answer that question, at least from their point of view. (My state, Montana, apparently quite likes Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor, which I remember reading in 5th grade.)

And speaking of popular, Andrew Piper and Richard Jean So attempt to “quantify the weepy bestseller,” and ask if commercial hits are more sentimental than “literary” offerings.

I really enjoy this series by Darren Hayman at Caught By The River on visiting Thankful Villages:

Ian was driving me through Kent backlines when he asked me, ‘Do you know what a Thankful Village’ is?’

A Thankful Village is a village where every soldier returned alive from the first World War. Ken had told Ian about them. A doubly Thankful Village is a village where they returned alive from both World Wars. Thierville in France, Ian told me, was triply thankful having survived two world wars and the Franco-Prussian War.

Thankful or ‘Blessed’ Villages were first identified and named by Arthur Mee in 1936 in his series of guide books, The King’s England. He originally found 32 such villages. (My current list stands at 54 though some are disputed.)

Me and Ian joked about it being a band name and thought of song titles like ‘Blank Memorial’ and ‘Zeppelin Guilt’.

I enjoy Caught By The River quite a bit, even though I don’t regularly read nature writing. Also some good nature/place writing:

Wait, did someone say… writer crush? Then I guess I better start talking about DAVID MITCHELL, who you may have heard has recently written something that will not be read for another hundred years. (Science, I’d like to live another hundred years, please.)

I also enjoyed this review of Mitchell’s Slade House, which is one of my favorites that I’ve read this year. Reviewer Brian Finney gets into how all of the novels intersect in some way, forming an “übernovel.”

And did you know that the US and UK editions of his novel Cloud Atlas are somewhat different? This makes me want to do a close reading of both.

Do you need some literary podcasts? Jessica Gross at Electric Lit has some suggestions.

And finally…

Important Subjectmatter: “Why Do Cats Love Bookstores?” by Jason Diamond.

Until next time!

Notes From Elsewhere is brought to you by Sara Habein, who doesn’t pretend to be the first to know everything. 

Currently reading:

Songs of Willow Frost by Jamie Ford, who recently wrote a good editorial about refugees, fairness, and fear.

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