Our intrepid AWP #LitBeat correspondent attended an offsite event called “Books Have Ruined Our Lives, Now We Want to Ruin Yours“
Nabokov once described himself “as American as April in Arizona,” which is an odd thing to call yourself when you’re a lepidopterist Russian expat. In Nabokov in America, Robert Roper explores why Nabokov felt he was so American, and how his journey to that identity influenced his writing of Lolita. At The Literary Review, Ian Sansom reviews Roper's book.
"His life's work, and his stunning prose, teaches us to better understand political influence, American democracy, and the true power of biography." The National Book Foundation just announced Robert Caro as this year's recipient of the National Book Awards lifetime achievement medal. Definitely pair with this piece by our own Michael Bourne on Caro's epic literary ambitions.
In her scathing, yet utterly necessary, review of Steve Jobs and its subject, Maureen Tkacik writes that "with any luck future generations will saddle Steve Jobs, the brand, with the blemish of all the jobs (small 'j') a once-great nation relinquished because of brand-name billionaires like Jobs."
Another big, literary title hits shelves today. Tom McCarthy turned heads with Remainder in 2007. Now he's back with C. Posthumously published is Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago's The Elephant's Journey. Also newly released is Sara Gruen's tale of bonobos and reality television: Ape House, William Gibson's latest Zero History, and The Widower's Tale by Julia Glass. Culture mavens will be intrigued by The Official Preppy Handbook reboot True Prep. And this week's intriguing art book is Full Bleed: New York City Skateboard Photography. And in non-fiction, Bob Dylan In America by Sean Wilentz and Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns, so compellingly written up in last week's New Yorker.
"Complacencies of the peignoir, and late / Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair, / And the green freedom of a cockatoo / Upon a rug mingle to dissipate / The holy hush of ancient sacrifice. / She dreams a little, and she feels the dark / Encroachment of that old catastrophe, / As a calm darkens among water-lights." Wallace Stevens's "Sunday Morning" is the perfect poem to kick off the day of rest. Here's a a brief profile from The New Yorker on Stevens' life and art.
"I want to show you our world as it is now: the door, the floor, the water tap and the sink, the garden chair close to the wall beneath the kitchen window, the sun, the water, the trees." Apples, plastic bags, teeth In The Guardian, Karl Ove Knausgaard attempts to explain the world to his unborn baby, object by object. Pair with our review of his epic, My Struggle.