Fifteen years into the twenty-first century and BBC Culture is trying to get the lay of the (literary) land. They asked several dozen book critics to name the best English-language novels published since the turn of the century. The brief and wondrous The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz was ranked first by the critics, meaning that all is right with the world. Diaz is a magician with language, story and character and this choice by the critics cements the fact that book people>movie people. Hear that Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? We don’t need your sprawling epics, formulaic biopics or chest-thumping war tales. We just want stories about genuine-seeming people, told beautifully.
In other, not-shocking-at-all news, some kids who once claimed to have died and met Jesus and the devil and St. Peter now claims to have made it all up. Gasp. I ordinarily wouldn’t bring up this sort of thing at all but the excellent Michelle Dean wrote an excellent piece for the Guardian about the near-death Christian bestseller industry that allowed this deception to happen.