The Most Overrated Books of 2011 according to NY Daily News, and Steve Jobs is included?
“His books are not only obviously produced by an obsessive film buff (as evidenced by one wry recurring trick, the dates in brackets that follow even citations of celluloid ephemera), they often seem to want to be movies, as shown by another signature device, the way his protagonists – from the 1890s European spies and 1950s New Yorkers in the interwoven narratives of his debut, V. in 1963, all the way to Inherent Vice and Bleeding Edge in 2013 – break anti-naturalistically into song like characters in musicals.” An argument that Thomas Pynchon writes fiction tailor-made for the cinema.
Fans of Moby-Dick should read Nathaniel Philbrick's outstanding historical account In the Heart of the Sea. The book, which tracks the fate of The Essex, a New England whaling vessel sunk by a humongous sperm whale in the South Pacific, is vivid and harrowing. It's also, as it turns out, only one of the naval catastrophes to befall George Pollard, Jr., The Essex's captain: a second wreck of his was recently located off the coast of Hawaii.
With the frenzied holiday season underway, there aren't many new releases to look at this week, but there are some newly reissued classics hitting shelves. NYRB Classics has put out Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant and Everything Flows by Vasily Grossman. Vintage, meanwhile, has smart looking new editions of a pair of Somerset Maugham books: The Narrow Corner and A Writer's Notebook.
If we are, as Adam Kirsch writes, in the midst of a golden age of essays, we might want to ask exactly which essays are proof of this golden age. His first three picks -- My Heart is an Idiot, I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Pulphead -- are unsurprising choices, but then it gets a bit more interesting when he looks at Sheila Heti’s latest novel. (You could also check out a few of our pieces on these books.)
Should you go to grad school? Should you not go to grad school? Should you stop reading trend pieces on going to graduate school?