‘By the Book’ in the New York Times Book Review

This interview was great fun: I talked to the New York Times book Review‘s By the Book about my reading habits.

How do you like to read? Paper or electronic? One book at a time or simultaneously? Morning or night?

Paper only. Books give me an intimacy that e-readers can’t deliver. I love the heft of a good novel in my hands, the smell of new pages, the fact that I can underline a beautiful sentence or mark an unusual detail. I interact with a paper book in many different ways; I’ve been known to throw a book across the room when it frustrates or angers me, for example. And books hold so many memories of the times and places in which I’ve read them. The other day, I opened a novel, and a bookmark that my daughter made me when she was 4 years old fell out. No e-reader can do that.

You can read the rest here.

Immigration and Climate Change

For the New York Times op-ed section, I wrote about the inevitable waves of immigration that will result from climate change:

By casting immigrants as either heroes or villains, these politicians reveal that they view immigration as a law-enforcement issue. The reality is much more complicated. Like other species on this planet, human beings are a migratory type. When they suddenly find themselves in desperate need of physical safety or economic opportunity, they leave home and start over somewhere new. It has always been this way. The earliest stories we tell ourselves are stories of displacement: Adam’s fall from Eden, Moses’ flight from Egypt, Muhammad’s hegira to Medina. Trying to stop this process through the building of walls strikes me as both ineffective and unnatural — like trying to stop a river from flowing.

I use the simile deliberately. Scientists predict that over the next decade the earth will warm by 1.5 degrees, and perhaps as much as two degrees Celsius if we fail to take drastic and sustained action on climate change. Even under the best-case scenarios, we will witness huge hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and other severe weather events. The consequences will be dire: loss of homes and livelihoods, hunger and disease, probably conflict, but eventually dislocation. As much as it is an economic, a social and a foreign-policy issue, migration is a climate issue.

You can read the whole piece here.

Starred Reviews for The Other Americans

Advance reading copies of my new book went out to media a few weeks ago. This part of the process is always anxiety-inducing, at least for me. So I’m particularly thrilled to report that trade reviews of The Other Americans are out, and they’re starred! Please take a look, add to your list, and tell a friend or five!

You can read more about the book, pre-order a copy, or find out when to catch me on tour.

Book Feature, Most-Anticipated Lists, etc.

Happy New Year, friends! Last week, I spoke to Hillel Italie, book reporter for the Associated Press, about the theme of immigration in current fiction. Was my novel a response of some sort to the rhetoric and/or the policies of the current administration? The short answer is no. I started working on The Other Americans in 2014, long before the president announced his run, and have written about migration in all of my novels, including this most recent one. The only difference is that The Other Americans is set in California, and features characters whose lives have been marked in very different ways by their decision to uproot themselves. The Associated Press piece also mentions new novels by Angie Kim, Samira Ahmed, Devi Laskar, and Valeria Luiselli, and was picked up by several newspapers, among them the Washington Post and the New York times, so please take a look.

In other book news, I’m thrilled to report that The Other Americans has been included in most-anticipated lists by the Boston Globe, BBC Culture, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Bustle, Nylon, Buzzfeed, Lit Hub, The Millions, Electric Literature, Huffington Post, and the Guardian.


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