Tuesday Miscellany

Michael Chabon endorses Barack Obama. (via)

Chicago’s Featherproof Books has been publishing a series of handsome (and free!) mini-books. (via) There are a number of fine writers in its archives, including Elizabeth Crane and Patrick Somerville.

The latest iteration of the National Book Critics Circle’s Good Reads list–formerly the “best recommended” list–is up now.  My fiction pick for this go-round was Ali Smith‘s Girl Meets Boy and my nonfiction pick was Frederik Peeters‘ graphic memoir Blue Pills. Neither American, I know, but they were the only 2008 books I had some enthusiasm for in early January, when the call went out.

Sunday Miscellany

The New York Times Book Review is all about Islam this week; the sole review of a work of American fiction in Washington Post Book World is Ron Charles‘ (positive) assessment of Lydia Millet‘s How the Dead Dream.

Phoenix Press, as this piece by the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Frank Wilson reports, specializes in condensed versions of classic novels. The Phoenix version of Moby-Dick, for instance, lacks “lengthy descriptions of whaling history and of whales, some philosophical observations, a number of other digressions and reflections.” Which, as Wilson rightly points out, are “the pith and marrow that are precisely what makes Melville’s idiosyncratic masterwork the epic that it is.”

Sheehan Miles is giving away his new novel, Republic: A Novel of America’s Future. Why? “[M]ost authors (including yours truly) suffer from a different problem entirely — no one has ever heard of them.”

Also, my review of Frederik Peeters‘ nicely turned graphic memoir,  Blue Pills, is in this week’s issue of City Paper. ComicsDC was nice enough to notice. (Our online version, for the record, is no longer shaky.)