The poet Marie Ponsot is a late-blooming ninety-five. For the New York Times Book Review, William Logan reviews her new Collected Poems (Knopf), and follows her arc from early “secondhand Tolkein,” to a letting go of “hollow immensities.” “We read such poets,” writes Logan, “because we want to know how a poetic intelligence inhabits the world, or invents it.”...more
Posts Tagged: New York Times Book Review
There’s a new short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the world this week, and it’s a Mrs. Dalloway-style imagination of a day in the life of Melania Trump as she plans a dinner party. The story, titled “The Arrangements,” is the New York Times Book Review’s first-ever commissioned piece of fiction (to be followed, for the sake of bipartisanship, by a second story from a different author on the Clintons in the fall)....more
As a child, I loved it when a book took me somewhere else. I still do, but I’m more surprised and grateful now to be transported by words on a page from one world to another. Perhaps because, as grown-ups, we value what is harder won.
This idea — that one person, and only one person, in any given generation can possess the intellectual prowess, creative might, emotional intelligence and writing chops to produce a novel that speaks truth about the disparate American whole — is pure hogwash.
Some story collections drop with fireworks and great fanfare, while others make their entrance, it could be said, on tender feet. The latter is the case with the works of Edith Pearlman, who released her fifth story collection, Honeydew, on Tuesday....more
At Salon, Molly Fischer criticizes the New York Times’s “Bookends” column, going so far as to suggest that the it be eliminated for good. She compares the question-and-answer formats — and the content of the prompts — as reminiscent of high school English classes:
It’s not just the stiff phrasing (“What should we make of this?” “What’s behind the notion?”) that gives Bookends its blue-books-and-binder-paper feel.
The New York Times Book Review recently published a summer reading special issue. In it, the terrific British travel writer and novelist Lawrence Osborne has an essay on travel writing, along with some summer reading recommendations. He writes about books by John Waters, Iain Sinclair, and Tim Butcher and ruminates on what we look for in travel writing....more
The NYT‘s section Books of the Times reviews RJ Smith’s biography of James Brown, The One, which came out earlier this spring: “This book’s sparkle speaks for itself, as does Mr. Smith’s ability to take on his screaming, moaning, kinetically blessed, unbeatably shrewd subject.” Smith covers Brown’s life from his childhood in the rural South to his post-glory troubles with the law while dropping stories about the idiosyncrasies and many talents of the late great “Soul Brother Number One”....more
A literary novelist writing a genre novel is like an intellectual dating a porn star, right? Well that’s what New York Times book reviewer Glen Duncan thinks.
In his Sunday Book Review of Colson Whitehead’s complex new zombie novel, Zone One, Duncan sets the parallel between dating porn stars and what he initially perceives as slumming in genre fiction, and lets the rest of the review ride on the back of this comparison....more
I know I should be grateful to the NYTBR for trashing my new book. I’m not....more
In a post on the blog Book Publishing News, publicist Scott Lorenz distills a recent speech by New York Times Book Review Editor Barry Gewen and accounts from other sources to form a picture of how the NYTBR — probably the most influential and widely-read book review in the country — actually chooses which books to review....more