What Is Your Choice for Word of the Year?

JENNIFER SCHUESSLER Photo Oxford Dictionaries selected “youthquake” as the international Word of the Year for 2017. Credit Ian Nicholson/Press Association, via Associated Press Oxford Dictionaries announced yesterday that its international Word of the Year for 2017 is… “youthquake”? If you’re scratching your head, you’re not alone. “Never bloody heard of it until an hour ago!” one Twitter user wrote. There were puzzled reaction GIFs. #youthquake: Oxford Dictionaries’ #WordOfTheYear that no one uses. — Toni Waterman (@ToniWaterman_) Dec. 15, 2017 And there were many jokes about the 1985 album ofRead More

Mary Beard on ‘Women & Power’

Subscribe: iTunes | Google Play Music In Parul Sehgal’s recent review of Mary Beard’s “Women & Power: A Manifesto,” Sehgal writes: Photo According to Aristotle, women’s voices were proof of their wickedness. Virtue expressed itself in deep, full-throated sounds — the noise of the lion, the bull and (no surprise here) the human male. Women’s speech, however, its pitch and prattle, was considered dangerous, even unsanitary. The very sound of their voices, it was believed, could sink the state. In the ancient world, “public speech was a — if notRead More

Live Art With Children’s Book Illustrators

Sean Qualls and Selina Alko in the studio on Sept. 7, 2017.Published OnDec. 15, 2017 Sean Qualls and Selina Alko, the husband-and-wife illustration team behind many popular picture books, came to show us how they made the art for “Why Am I Me?,” about the importance of empathy and tolerance. Sergio Ruzzier in the studio on Sept. 5, 2017.Published OnDec. 15, 2017 Sergio Ruzzier is the author and illustrator of several award-winning picture books. His latest project is re-illustrating two hilarious chapter books by Florence Parry Heide, “Tales for theRead More

The Best Art Books of 2017

HOLLAND COTTER, ROBERTA SMITH and JASON FARAGO ‘NINA CHANEL ABNEY: ROYAL FLUSH’ Edited by Marshall N. Price (Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University). Although captions are poorly placed, this is otherwise an exemplary catalog from a small museum. Its plentiful reproductions vividly trace the headlong first decade of the work of Nina Chanel Abney, a promising painter whose bright, stenciled surfaces draw equally from dire current events and modernist art. (Her shows are on view at Jack Shainman Gallery, through Dec. 20, and Mary Boone Gallery, through Dec. 22.)Read More

Tiffany Haddish on Bar Mitzvahs, Pimping and Other Rite…

GREGORY COWLES Photo Tiffany Haddish MAKING IT: Tiffany Haddish may have been spurned by the Golden Globes, but the comedian and “Girls Trip” star is holding her own on the hardcover nonfiction list — her book of personal essays, “The Last Black Unicorn,” debuts at No. 15. The book is, no surprise, every bit as rowdy as the movie. Haddish grew up in foster care in South Central Los Angeles, and for a time had a job as an “energy producer” at bar mitzvahs, where she was paid to danceRead More

In Armand Baltazar’s ‘Timeless,’ People, Dinosaurs and …

ADAM GIDWITZ Photo From “Timeless.” TIMELESS: DIEGO AND THE RANGERS OF THE VASTLANTIC Written and illustrated by Armand Baltazar 607 pp. Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins. $19.99. (Middle grade; ages 8 to 12) This new generation is weird. Usually, despite all our handwringing about epochal changes, kids are kids. But a recent study by Jean Twenge suggests young people today have become so enamored with smartphones that they are voluntarily delaying time-honored rites of passage like getting drivers’ licenses and having sex. How is a writer supposed to reach kids so attached toRead More

Your Kids Need a Laugh? Try the Short, Quirky Poems in …

KWAME ALEXANDER Photo I’M JUST NO GOOD AT RHYMING And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups By Chris Harris. Illustrated by Lane Smith. 192 pp. Little, Brown and Company. $19.99. (Ages 6 and up) In this sometimes unkind climate we find ourselves surrounded by, laughing to keep from crying is more than a maxim. It’s a requirement for sanity. As Langston Hughes, one of America’s finest poets, wrote: “Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.” Photo Sure, parentsRead More

‘Bloodlines’ Tracks Bloodshed Across the Border

ALAN FEUER Photo Accused members of the Los Zetas drug cartel during sentencing in the Supreme Court of Justice in Guatemala in 2012. Credit Reuters BLOODLINES The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty By Melissa del Bosque 394 pp. Ecco. $27.99. The American border with Mexico isn’t much of one. Every morning, at towns in Texas like Brownsville and McAllen, fleets of 18-wheelers packed with cheap consumer goods — some of them illicit — rumble over international bridges, slowing down onlyRead More

What the Shadow Knows: Picture Books on Runaway Reflect…

FRANK VIVA As in his previous books like “Sidewalk Flowers” and “The White Cat and the Monk,” Sydney Smith’s illustrations have a sort of effortless freedom that belies the careful pacing and thoughtful page designs. There is one glorious, wordless spread where Smoot cuts across the gutter against a clamor of color. In the end, it’s the illustrations I admire most in this book. I have been an admirer of Serge Bloch (“Reach for the Stars,” “Butterflies in My Stomach”) for a long time, and “George and His Shadow” didn’tRead More

Notebooks From an Argentine Master, and Other Works of …

MARA FAYE LETHEM Photo Credit John Gall THE DIARIES OF EMILIO RENZI Formative Years By Ricardo Piglia Translated by Robert Croll 448 pp. Restless Books. Paper, $19.99. Photo Cognizant of his impending death, Piglia, the Argentine titan of letters who died of A.L.S. in January, prepared his 327 notebooks for publication in a trilogy. This first installment covers 1957-67, the salad days of a whip-smart, arrogant, ambitious young man determined to forge himself, against his father’s wishes, as a writer, the spots on his skin proof of his “alchemical pactsRead More