Reviews & Web Hype

Let’s See What Some Stuff’s About

The Scott Timberg io9 piece I mentioned the other day is live now. “Welcome to the Soft Apocalypse.”

At TNRBook, Sophia Lear is unimpressed by Sheila Kohler’s Becoming Jane Eyre. Also, reprinted classics by George Orwell and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Two things I pinched from Bookslut– “The Poetics of Amateur Products Reviews” and Margaret Drabble introduces you to William Wordsworth. And why the heck not?

Okay, NYTea time- Tom Carson really likes Just Kids, Patti Smith’s memoir of Robert Mapplethorpe. I’ve heard amazing things about it as well–out in “the streets”. Wells Tower is pretty ambivalent about the new T.C. Boyle. Antonya Nelson calls Robert Stone’s Fun With Problems “a book for grown-ups,” which is a concept I both do and do not understand; both am and am not vaguely attracted to. Has anyone out there ever read any Stone? Also, obituaries. Charles McGrath on Salinger and Michael Powell on Zinn. A blog I’d never heard of (before Paper Cuts linked to it) called “Classics Rock: Books Shelved in Songs” has playlists of songs that reference the works of each man (Zinn, Salinger). But the Farah Fawcett Memorial Overshadowed Death of the Week (literature edition) has absolutely got to go to poor Louis Auchincloss, who wrote over 60 books over 50 years, mostly while also still practicing law, and who, at 92, had a year on Salinger and four on Zinn.

Finally, a question. For three days now I’ve left Emerson’s Divinity School Address in an open tab on my browser. Will today be the day I print it out and actually read it? (That’s really two questions.)

January 30th, 2010 / 11:54 am

NYTBR has got some interesting stuff going on this weekend, mostly in the form of its bylines. They’ve got William T. Vollmann reviewing Crossers by Philip Caputo, August Kleinzahler on a new biography of Thelonious Monk, Amy Bloom on a book about feminism (When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present), and George Packer on Mark Danner’s Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War. Plus, you know, a bunch of other stuff. The usual run of whatever, plus as near as I can tell there seems to be only one new entry this week into the NYT’s famous vortex of nobody-gives-a-shit. That would be David Kamp (The United States of Arugala) reviewing the new Michael Chabon essay collection, Manhood for Amateurs (yikes!) which features that infamously stupid essay about childhood that made everyone hate him. Anyway, here’s the beginning of the Vollmann review:

Once when I was so weak with amebic dysentery that all time not spent on the toilet was passed in bed, I found in my host’s house one book in a language I could read. It was one of those storm-tossed but ultimately upbeat women’s romances, a genre I had not yet sampled. I read it, then read it again and again, since there was nothing better to do. If I ever have the luxury of repeating such an experience, I hope to do so with a Philip Caputo book. For how many decades in how many used bookstores have I seen “Horn of Africa” standing steadfast, a Rock of Gibraltar compared with the mere boulders of Ken Follett and Sidney Sheldon? And only now, with a half-century of my life already over, have I finally learned whom to turn to for a good potboiler in my next wasting sickness!

Palette, cleansed.