Sarah Fay, associate editor of The Paris Review, has a piece in The Atlantic on the digitization of book reviewing, framed beautifully by references to George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Confessions of a Book Reviewer.” She praises Bookslut, Nancy Pearl, Goodreads, and The Los Angeles Review of Books for their collective skills of recommendation, reviewing, and New Criticism. I’d add The Quarterly Conversation, The Rumpus, The New Inquiry, The Morning News (for their annual Tournament of Books feature), and of course, The Millions.
Leading Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn has been working on a three-volume biography of the Liverpool band for almost a decade. Tentatively titled The Beatles: The Complete Story, the first installment was due for a publication date this year. Unfortunately, Volume One, which tracks the group from the beginning through December 1962, has hit yet another delay, and fans likely won’t see it until 2013. As Lewisohn says, the accuracy takes time, and “the whole ethos of the project is ‘do the job properly’.” Lewisohn’s last work was the 2006 Complete Beatles Recording Sessions.
In the late 1860s, James Crichton-Browne, director of the West Riding Lunatic Asylum, gave Charles Darwin a collection of photographic portraits depicting the “afflicted and insane.” What followed was a six-year relationship in which both men corresponded about “the physical manifestations of natural selection.”