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News, Notes, Talk

Lauren Groff’s next novel is set in the 17th-century American wilderness.

Dan Sheehan

September 30, 2022, 12:33pm

That’s the same perilous American wilderness that almost killed Leonardo DiCaprio, except 200 years younger, sprier and, one would assume, significantly more bear-ful.

Now, I don’t know how many bears feature in three-time National Book Award finalist, Guggenheim fellow, and winner of the Story Prize Lauren Groff’s fifth novel, The Vaster Wilds, which (per Publishers Marketplace) will be released by Riverhead at some undetermined time in the future, but I hope the answer is “several.”

Here’s Groff speaking about The Vaster Wilds at the Fellows’ Presentation Series at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study back in 2019.

Of course LCD Soundsystem’s first new song in 5 years is for the adaptation of White Noise.

Emily Temple

September 30, 2022, 12:14pm

Ah, college. Just a handful of blessèd years in which to wear thrifted cardigans, leave your hair unwashed, carry around an underlined copy of White Noise, and close your eyes in the dance party when “All My Friends” comes on, because college-aged hipsters will never, ever admit that “All My Friends” is not actually a good dance party song.

I felt a whiff of those years return to me this morning when I awoke to find that LCD Soundsystem has released their first new song in five years, and that (of course) it is for the soundtrack for Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s modern classic. (James Murphy also did the scores for Baumbach’s Greenberg and While We’re Young.) The vibes could not be any more specific: 2007 is calling.

Not that I’m complaining. I still have plenty of cardigans. “New Body Rhumba” is seven and a half minutes of delicious, cowbell-y nostalgia, and yes, it is also trying to trick you into thinking it’s a good dance party song. Save it for the end of the night, people! Or listen to it yourself and then leave a message telling me how I’m wrong on my dorm room phone:

[h/t Vulture]

Libraries across the country are being forced to close because of bomb threats.

Jessie Gaynor

September 30, 2022, 12:07pm

In a predictable—but nevertheless horrifying—extension of the ongoing wave of book bans across the country (not to mention the bomb threats to a children’s hospital for providing gender-affirming healthcare), Motherboard has reported that at least a dozen public libraries across the country have received bomb and active shooter threats in the past two weeks, forcing cancellations of programming and closures.

While not all of the threats had stated motives (public libraries in Hawaii were closed over the weekend due to an “unspecified threat”), some were explicitly directed at LGBTQ events: “A library in a Chicago suburb canceled its drag bingo night after receiving threats earlier this month. And last week, a teen drag star was forced to cancel a book reading at a library in the Bronx after a series of homophobic threats.”

Library workers who spoke to Motherboard expressed frustration with their employers’ lack of protocol around these threats, particularly given the rise in threats against public institutions in recent years.

If your side sending literal bomb threats to public libraries doesn’t make you stop and think Are we the baddies?, well… you’re exactly as evil and stupid as I assumed. And hey, a special screw you to all the angry Lit Hub commenters through the years who demanded to know what politics had to do with literature any time we published an essay about the former! The answer is this, right here.

[via Motherboard]

Lizzo played a 200-year-old crystal flute from the Library of Congress’s flute vault.

Katie Yee

September 29, 2022, 2:27pm

The Rumors are true! Yesterday, Lizzo became the first and only person on the planet to play this centuries’ old (!) crystal (!!) flute. It’s About Damn Time. This instrument is from 1813, and it belonged to our fourth President, James Madison, so yeah, you could say it’s pretty Special. Give it a listen:

For an ancient instrument, it sounds Good As Hell. And what a cool way to bring a piece of history into the present. Wonder what else the Library of Congress has in store? As the largest library in the world, they have a whole flute vault, a 159-year-old wedding cake, and everything that was inside Lincoln’s pockets when he was assassinated. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re looking for The Sign to check out the archives, this is it. They’re ready (2 Be Loved).

Life Advice for Book Lovers: On Absent Friends and Turning 30


September 29, 2022, 1:51pm

Welcome to Life Advice for Book Lovers, Lit Hub’s advice column. You tell me what’s eating you in an email to deardorothea@lithub.com, and I’ll tell you what you should read next.


Dear Dorothea,

A great, close, wonderful friend just passed away, quite suddenly. We are both devastated, but over time, and beyond the 5 stages of grief angle, we’ll need to renew, and respond to this grief. Are there any books you could suggest?

She (our friend) was a dog breeder, of champions, and we were lucky to have some of them with us, she was the “grandmother.”

Thank you,


Dear Grieving,

Firstly, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I hope you and your community are finding the care you need during this difficult time. While there are no words that anyone could offer up to make this better, perhaps you would find some solace in Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend? It tells the story of a woman in the aftermath of the loss of a close friend and mentor. She’s left holding all this unexpected grief—and the leash of the Great Dane her friend has left behind. The bond that they form is healing and life-affirming. Here’s hoping it speaks to you as you navigate onward.

Also, I just want to say how wonderful it is that you have some of her champions with you still; it’s a beautiful legacy she’s left, isn’t it? All these dogs—bundles of joy—in the world, all because of her. She lives on in each of them, I’m sure.

All love,


Dear Dorothea,

I signed a lease and was supposed to move in to a newly renovated apartment 2 months ago, but inspections got all held up and I have been living in a very small Airbnb with my boyfriend and our cat (who keeps unearthing mouse traps with very dead mice).

I’m also leaving for a trip in ten days and am turning 30 while on my vacation—so, a lot going on and feeling low-key robbed of this time to reflect on my 20s and to look ahead to my 30s.

Also was in a bit of a reading slump from the stress but am looking to read something now! Fave authors include Clarice Lispector, Anne Carson, Elena Ferrante, Dantiel W. Moniz, Donna Tartt, Virginia Woolf, and Mieko Kawakami.

Thank you,
Twenty-nine and feeling like I want to cry <3


Dear Twenty-nine,

Happy birthday!! I have a funny feeling your 30s are going to be the best years yet. (There must be a reason, after all, that in the hit film 13 Going on 30, Jennifer Garner skips right over her 20s!)

It sounds like your daily life has been a bit of a whirlwind recently. I hope your vacation gives you a moment to pause. (Or at the very least, a few quiet moments where you can rest your weary head against the car/train/plane window and feel like you’re in a melancholy movie montage—the best time for deep life reflection! Cue: “Dreams” by the Cranberries.)

Because it’s your thirtieth birthday, I’m going to recommend not just one book, nor two, but three. (I hope your Libra sensibilities find this satisfying.)

Based on your tastes, I think we would be very good friends. So, my very good friend, first I will recommend Miranda July’s It Chooses You. This book is like candy. If you’ve been in a reading slump, start here. It’s formatted like a scrapbook, borne out of Miranda July’s own procrastination at finishing a screenplay. Instead of working, she consumes the PennySaver classifieds and interviews the people featured in them. Every object in these pages, every person, every word feels like a space for that rare self-reflection that trips around the sun warrant.

Second, there’s Christine Smallwood’s The Life of the Mind. Meet Dorothy: a disillusioned woman working as an adjunct professor teaching Writing the Apocalypse. She’s had a miscarriage. She’s in a perfectly fine relationship. She juggles two therapists because she doesn’t fully trust either. I found this book to be a perfect encapsulation of growing up and being unsure and looking endings boldly in the eye.

And, finally: Grace Paley’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute simply because her style will speak to you. On plot: “the absolute line between two points which I’ve always despised. Not for literary reasons, but because it takes all hope away. Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life.” I hope on the precipice of your thirtieth, in your time away from the hectic context of your normal days, you find the open destiny of life.

Here’s to thirty, flirty, and thriving!

<3 Dodo