Robert Birnbaum asked seven indie publishers to say which titles they wish they’d published in 2009. The last sentence of the piece (from Dalkey Archive’s Martin Riker) is particularly great.
The Beatles' remastered catalogue is probably the hottest rock release of the moment, but there are other notable new releases this month: The Stone Roses' 20th anniversary re-release double CD and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (recently written up at The Millions)'s second full length EP, Higher Than the Stars.
Cutting out large chunks of a book is pretty common, but cutting out 200 pages is a little unusual. While working on his latest novel, Joshua Ferris decided to abandon the elements drawn from crime fiction, which meant he had to toss out a huge portion of his draft. “Now that was a fun day,” he says.
In 1952, John Steinbeck wrote that Al Capp, the cartoonist and Lil’ Abner creator, might well have been the best writer working in the world at the time. In the Times, Andy Webster reviews a new biography of Capp, which reveals that underneath it all lay “a toxic chip on his shoulder.”
Is envy really the worst form of pettiness, as Kierkegaard suggested? Maybe. The great Roman philosopher Cicero had his own, fairly radical thoughts on envy -- namely, that "compassion and envy are consistent in the same man; for whoever is uneasy at any one’s adversity is also uneasy at another’s prosperity."