A Look at Hanya Yanigahara’s 12,000 Books: Critical Linking, August 17, 2017

Sponsored by Flatiron Books

Man Booker prize-shortlisted author, editor of the New York Times Style magazine T, travel writer: Hanya Yanagihara has distilled three of her greatest passions – books, art and travel – into her one-bedroom apartment in downtown Manhattan. The flat, housed in a steel-framed former bottle factory, has no dividing walls: instead, a vast, double-sided bookcase, containing more than 12,000 titles, acts “as a kind of suggestion of a wall”, Yanagihara says. On one side are her private quarters – bedroom, study, wardrobe and bathroom – on the other, a living room, kitchen and dining table. Floors are black, polished floorboards.

This article focuses more on her art and less on her books than I’d like, but I have major bookshelf envy anyway.

The book features allusions that may go over some children’s heads. The setting is a farm called Wishington. The antagonist is a bearded alligator named “Alkah.” Astute readers will recognize Covfefe cliff. But perhaps the most inflammatory aspect is the smiling cartoon frog, which NBC News has called a “popular white nationalist symbol.” “Pede,” the name of the cartoon centipede that also graces the book’s cover, is also a term members of a Donald Trump-themed Reddit board use to refer to each other.

An assistant principal loses his job after publishing a children’s book with Pepe the frog in it.

In a bizarre miscalculation, the historical novelist Philippa Gregory took a sideswipe at the authors of genre novels in an interview with the New York Times yesterday. “Choosing to write a genre novel is like fencing the universe because you are afraid of space,” said Gregory, loftily. “Why does anyone write lazy, sloppy genre novels? The typing alone is so exhausting — surely if you’re going to undertake 150,000 words, you might as well have something interesting to say?”

Genre novelist Philippa Gregory has some snooty things to say about genre novels.


Sign up to Today In Books to receive daily news and miscellany from the world of books
In a book lover’s life, there’s nothing as magical as a perfect, surprising recommendation from someone who just gets you. But finding those people can be tough! That’s where TBR comes in. Go here to find out more, or just click the image below: