As the publication date nears for Robert Caro’s latest Lyndon Johnson installment, The Passage of Power, it’s a good idea to brush up on your history of Caro’s career. Enter Charles McGrath and his great portrait of one of the most prolific biographers of all time.
Instead of capitalizing on his newfound momentum by hitting the campaign trail hard, Herman Cain this week opted to spend most of his time promoting his book, This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, which just arrived in retail stores this week.
This fall, Marilynne Robinson will mark her return to a fictional plains town in Iowa with the publication of Lila, the third novel in her Gilead series. Expect the novel to be featured in our forthcoming Great Book Preview, but if you can’t wait until then, you’ve got to check out FSG’s exclusive excerpt from the book.
Today in book-related graphics: The Arts Shelf has created an infographic measuring famous literature by word count, and The New York Times provides a handy, illustrated guide to any writers' retreat, complete with authors' cloisters and an "emergency idea generator."
We cover a decent number of literary awards here at The Millions, but we, like most magazines, have a tendency to focus on the present. At the LARB, Andrew Nicholls makes up for this by recounting the very first book awards, in which Mooluu’s “The Beast Attacked” goes head-to-head with Kurtan the Elder’s “Why Half My Face is Missing.” You could also read our own Mark O’Connell on why we care about literary prizes to begin with.
Visual effects virtuoso Ray Harryhausen died this week at the age of 92. Harryhausen was first inspired to take up movie-making when he watched King Kong with his childhood friend Ray Bradbury, and his pioneering career spanned over forty years. Over at Vulture, you can check out a couple of his most well-known scenes. To my mind, though, his best work will always remain Galgo’s creepy, stretch-tastic wizard hand from The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
Robert Darnton at the New York Review of Books considers the feasibility of creating a National Digital Library: “I know: the devil can cite Jefferson. Anyone can cull through the papers of the Founding Fathers in order to find quotations in support of a cause. But I can’t resist.”