The New Yorker announced that their literary blog, The Book Bench, will henceforth be called Page-Turner. The name change signals a “building on the work of the Book Bench blog, and expanding on it.” In an inaugural post, Ryan Bloom translates the deceptively simple first line of The Stranger.
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.
“All of your life, you think of that one fluid motion of power, terrorized by the fact we are capable of such collisions, such harm, such leveling of each other to flattened mountains, left to tunnel into ourselves, such wretched unhappiness, such unfathomable cruelty unless resurrected by the tenderness and affection of a lover, by kisses that leave us enthroned.” Major Jackson is next up in the Kiss series from Guernica Magazine — a weekly column which investigates that most intimate of human interactions, the kiss, in all its many manifestations.
“To get me through a 550-page collection, the stories must be very good indeed. These are.” When Lionel Shriver participated in our Year in Reading ritual several years back, she dedicated her reading diary to William Trevor, who just passed away. “Trevor’s writing is so perfect that you don’t even notice it’s perfect,” she wrote. “He mainlines pure narrative directly into your veins. The words never get in the way; the words, like their author, disappear.”
E. B. White is one of those writers you are liable to meet again and again in the course of a reading life, each time wearing a different expression. To children, he is the author of Charlotte’s Web; to college students, he is half of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. Later on, he helped define the voice of the early New Yorker. Now all those Whites have been brought together in the pages of In the Words of E. B. White: Quotations from America’s Most Companionable of Writers, an anthology of quotations edited by his granddaughter Martha White.
Good versus evil, a hero coming of age, wars, and sibling love — Star Wars is the play William Shakespeare never wrote. Fortunately, Ian Doescher rewrote the tale of the Jedi in iambic pentameter in William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. The best part is the book trailer, which features Shakespearean actors wielding lightsabers.