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.

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