Let us now praise professional book reviewers, like them or not. And speaking of reviews, Niall Ferguson threatens the L.R.B. with legal action over a negative review of his new book, Civilization (via).
“I hope they also love that experience of surprise and delight and really engaging stories in the fiction sense, but also in the writers at work sense and in the poetic sense.” A Vanity Fair interview with Emily Nemens, The Paris Review’s new editor. And here’s a list of 20 reasons you should absolutely be reading literary magazines.
Another hip-hip for long-form journalism. George Packer‘s piece in the New Yorker on Richard Holbrooke and the Af-Pak War reminds one that some things — complicated geopolitical matters, for example — must be explored at length. Subscribers can read the full article in the digital edition here. Short of that, read Packer’s assessment of the McChrystal Report on his blog.
“There is one rule [to writing biography] that all who try their hand at it come to know: until the protagonist reveals his or her character—his or her inner self—what the biographer produces is less a life than a report, an autopsy rather than the record of a séance.” David Levering Lewis writes for The American Scholar about biography and writing “the lives of African-American figures, and [finding] in them the story of our times.”
It’s been nearly three years since an unknown man last marked Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday by leaving three roses and cognac at Poe’s grave. Today is Poe’s birthday and “Poe fans are planning one last vigil this week before calling an end” to the decades-long tradition of watching the mystery mourner pay his respects. (via)