If you’ve been curious about Robert Moses but put off by the sheer heft of volumes like The Power Broker, a forthcoming comic book rendering of the master builder’s reign is a fun new option. The book, titled Robert Moses, comes from a long French tradition of giving traditionally serious subjects the comic treatment....more
Posts Tagged: New York Times
“Gutenberg may have invented the movable-type printing press,” but the father of the paperback is a different man: Aldus Manutius. As reported in the New York Times, an exhibition opened at the Grolier Club in Manhattan this week to commemorate the 500th year anniversary of his death....more
At the New York Times, Dwight Garner reviews Jorie Graham’s new collected, From the New World: 1976-2014. Graham is a giant of American poetry, and the volume follows her career as the margins drift in and out, the trees indicate myriad seasons of emotive potential, and countless pronouns resist simple structures of reference and meaning....more
I would never have consented to writing the story using a gendered pronoun for Sasha, but when that approach was rejected, writing without using pronouns at all seemed like a good solution. It was challenging to write that way without it being awkward, but it also felt a bit like writing formal poetry — the constraints can end up making you more creative.
Book reviewing is still a heavily debated topic within the literary world. This week, the New York Times’s Bookends column has James Parker and Anna Holmes answering the question, “Is book reviewing a public service or an art?”. Head to the Sunday Book Review page to find out what they both agreed on....more
After a Times article last March criticized Spain (and its literary establishment) for failing to unravel the mystery of the precise location of Miguel de Cervantes’s grave, a reinvigorated search may have finally yielded results. Cervantes was buried in Madrid’s Trinitarias convent, but the specific site was not marked (or not marked well); the discovery of a casket with the initials M....more
(adj.); having a well or suitable name
From Dickens with his bitter Gradgrind to J. K. Rowling with her sour Voldemort, authors have long understood that names help establish character.
—Neal Gabler, from “The Weird Science of Naming Things”
A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet… wouldn’t it?...more
A graduate of Chabot College, Tom Hanks defends President Obama’s new community college proposal, explaining the benefits of his free education in the New York Times....more
Shortly after Kamel Daoud’s Counter-Investigation fell short of winning the Goncourt Prize, the Algerian author received a Facebook death threat from an Islamist preacher calling the author “an enemy of religion.” Now, Daoud fights to defend his work as extremists attempt to force him into exile....more
During Amazon’s skirmish with Hachette, one group that rallied to Amazon’s defense were the self-published authors who claimed that the Kindle allowed their overlooked voices a platform. Now, those authors find themselves sinking as the online retailer has turned on them with the Kindle Unlimited service, undermining their book sales....more
In a piece for the Times’s Sunday Book Review, Paul Muldoon leads a fascinating and warm-hearted expedition through the letters and poems of Samuel Beckett, new volumes of which will become available in the coming months. One could argue that Muldoon is prone to hyperbole, at times; he casually describes Krapp’s Last Tape as “the single greatest evocation of loss and longing of the 20th century” and declares that “to describe [Beckett’s] line breaks as arbitrary would be a kindness.” On the whole, though, Muldoon inspires confidence through his insightful readings and engaging prose, giving readers a captivating window into Beckett’s writing life, and the collaborative relationships that brought his plays and radio dramas to the world....more
The poetry community has been mourning what seems like an exceptional number of losses in the past few months; the New York Times remembrance of Claudia Emerson marks yet another. Emerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2005 collection The Late Wife, which explores the poet’s recurrent themes of love, marriage, and mourning....more
A French public library has discovered that the institution possesses a rare ‘first folio’ of the works of William Shakespeare. There are many first folios, but these earliest anthologies all contain variations in the texts. (The writing we have come to know as the definitive works have actually been pieced together by scholars who’ve researched and compared the various versions of first folios.) For example, the newly discovered folio has changes in Henry IV:
In one scene in “Henry IV,” the word “hostess” is changed to “host” and “wench” to “fellow” — possibly reflecting an early performance where a female character was turned into a male.
For the New York Times, Francine Prose and Benjamin Moser share their experiences reading 19th century Russian literature. While Prose shows an appreciation for the timeless themes of Tolstoy and Gogol, Moser contends that what makes 19th century Russian writers distinctive is the way their work “echoed their particular national history.”...more
After years of financial struggle, Barnes & Noble’s enlists renowned authors like Donna Tart, David Mitchell and Neil Gaiman to help compete with Amazon this holiday season. While Tart and Mitchell will contribute thousands of signed books to helps bolster sales, Gaiman has planned appearances at several of the chain’s bookstores....more
On Wednesday evening, Phil Klay’s Redeployment won the National Book Award for fiction, making it the first short story collection to win the award since Andrea Barrett’s Ship Fever in 1996. That’s 18 years. But what’s maybe more startling is that the collection, which takes multiple perspectives of people involved in and returning from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, stands nearly alone as a fictional account that has risen to the national level of attention since the war in Afghanistan began in 2003....more
Amazon and Hachette have, for now, resolved their dispute. But their protracted battle over pricing has made Hachette’s Chief Executive Michael Pietsch something of a hero to many in the literary community—in Distinction, Pietsch discusses his journey from a small Boston publishing firm to leading the charge against Amazon:
My first job in publishing was as a dogsbody at a small firm in Boston.
Why do readers love to hate the Times’s Style section? While many of its trend pieces are guilty of the same transgressions committed elsewhere in mainstream media, a history of misogyny and homophobia directed at lifestyle journalism suggests our contempt goes beyond objective criticism:
Far from detailing the paper’s ignominious decline into muddy ethical waters and vacuous intellectual territory, the history of style reporting at the New York Times actually exposes some of the nastiest truths about misogyny and homophobia in the mass media: their intensity, their unbelievable durations (by which I mean “totally believable”), their active contemporary manifestations, and the role audiences play in perpetuating them.
For a while now, such characters, if not totally extinct, have been on a steady life-support drip of nostalgia. In an age when GPS tracking, oversharing and 8 Signs Your Man Is Cheating listicles make their services unnecessary, the old-school gumshoe feels as irrelevant as Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple felt a generation before.
According to a report in the New York Times, PBS will be live-streaming the Miami Book Fair at Dade College later this month. Representatives at PBS cite a strong correlation between public television watchers and book consumers, and will be working with the festival to broadcast “Olympic-style coverage” of author events, panels, and interviews....more
At the New York Times, Margalit Fox shares a moving tribute to poet Carolyn Kizer, who passed away last Thursday. Characterized by impeccably crafted sound and meter, and an understated warmth, Kizer’s poems brought out a softer side of feminist poetry from the 1950’s through the present:
Where the poems of Ms.