Michelle Obama’s Favorite Books, Writer Jealousy, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“…even if a book takes on serious topics, I think it should still be fun to read.” In the latest installment of the New York Times By the Book column, Michelle Obama talks about the books on her nightstand, the books she’s reread, and her favorite fictional character as a child.

“Reading writers I admire writing about things I want to write about, obsessions I’m protective of, makes me feel unspecial: a bratty thing to feel, or at least to admit.” Elisa Gabbert examines writerly jealousy. (Paris Review Daily)

Lila Shapiro considers 2018’s many books about or inspired by Trump and whether the “Trump Bump” has “pushed all other topics into the shadows.” (Vulture)

Gwydion Suilebhan has been announced as the new executive director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, which promotes a love of reading through its in-school education, the PEN/Malamud Award, and the PEN/Faulkner Award, among other programs.

Russian writer Andrei Bitov died earlier this week at the age of eighty-one. Bitov, who is considered one of the founders of Russian postmodernism, wrote several books of fiction, including the novel Pushkin House. (Moscow Times)

At an auction in Dublin earlier this week, the pair of glasses James Joyce wore while writing Ulysses sold for €17,000, and a book of poetry W. B. Yeats gave to Maud Gonne sold for €48,000. (Irish Post)

In financial news: Earnings are down at John Wiley & Sons, while News Corp is considering future acquisitions for HarperCollins, due to the publisher’s success in 2018. (Publishers Weekly)

Entropy rounds up the best poetry of 2018, and Tayari Jones shares her favorite books of the year with NPR.

Listen to Jones read one of her Craft Capsules, the Poets & Writers series of micro craft essays, in a recent episode of Ampersand.