FROM Connie Alvarez
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part II) Known for the outrageous comedy of his acclaimed short stories, George Saunders says that daring to write this novel about grief, loss and the journey of the soul was like jumping off a cliff.
George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I) Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."
Emil Ferris: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Emil Ferris' debut graphic novel, is the diary of a ten-year-old girl obsessed with monsters who also believes she herself is a werewolf.
Álvaro Enrigue: Sudden Death Álvaro Enrigue's Sudden Death is the wild tale of a tennis match between the poet Francisco de Quevedo and the artist Caravaggio that transcends time and involves other historically transformative, and often combative, figures. Enrigue, who calls his impulse to write "visceral and erratic," was angered into starting this book by the 2008 financial crisis.
Rachel Cusk: Transit Rachel Cusk's novel Transit is the second in a planned trilogy. Cusk believes that humans have an innate grasp of form, a gift that makes us story-tellers. But the stories we tell ourselves can become traps.
Steve Erickson: Shadowbahn In Erickson's intense, absorbing novel, the Twin Towers suddenly re-appear in the Dakota Badlands. This road novel is a trip through a phantom country where the American dream was never realized.
Ron Padgett: Collected Poems Padgett's poems stand in for the poems written by a bus driver in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Padgett experiences writing poetry as a natural activity, rather like brushing his teeth.
Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World (Part II) In the second half of our conversation with Ottessa Moshfegh, the author discusses her discomfort in this world but admits that there is a touch of self-parody in the title of this collection of stories.
Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World (Part I) In the first of two conversations with Ottessa Moshfegh, the author reveals that she doesn't feel comfortable in this world. Her characters long for another world, as does Moshfegh.
Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead's new great American novel depicts a real underground railroad that transports a fugitive slave to stops that defy time and history, highlighting the daily struggles of black people, past and present.
Patrick Ness: A Monster Calls Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls – about a boy facing tremendous conflict with a bully at school, well-meaning inattentive teachers, and a dying mother – was actually already a story begun by another writer, who died before finishing it.
James Mangold on 'Logan' and fighting franchise fatigue Filmmaker James Mangold has been making character-driven dramas for more than 20 years, but lately, he's been in the X-Men superhero business. In his latest film, Logan, Hugh Jackman plays the slashing Marvel mutant one last time, so Mangold wanted to make something more nuanced than the usual comic-book movie.
Supermensch, Pi Day, farming at Tule Lake Segregation Center Shep Gordon discusses his move from managing musicians to star chefs, and Lisa Morehouse reports on the role compulsory farming played for Japanese-American internees at the Tule Lake Segregation Center. In honor of Pi Day, Dan Pashman debates Evan over the particulars of pie, and Yasmin Khan shares a saffron rice recipe for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year. Plus: Kohlrabi is in season now at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Ryan Murphy on how his Half Foundation led to 'Feud' Ryan Murphy oversees a small TV empire on FX, with series including American Horror Story, American Crime Story and his latest effort, Feud. The first cycle of that show focuses on the rivalry between movie icons Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. On all his shows, Murphy now has a strict rule: at least half of the directors and crew members must be women or minorities.
What do Trump's new emissions standards mean for fuel efficient cars? With President Trump unveiling lower fuel economy standards, will carmakers build more gas guzzlers? Also, an investigation looks into the risks of shipping nuclear warheads across the country on old 18 wheelers, driven by underpaid and overworked drivers. And, six years after Fukushima, nuclear waste has reached parts of the U.S. west coast.