Though everyone is tired of the online critics are too nice/ do critics even matter debate cropping up everywhere as of late, Daniel Mendelsohn’s “Critic’s Manifesto” may be the best thing to come out of the conversation yet: a clear formulation of what it means to be a critic and why that matters.
New this week is Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages, while John Banville (writing as Benjamin Black) is out with Vengeance. Also new on shelves: Aftermath, a memoir by Rachel Cusk; Peter Heller’s post-apocalyptic debut novel The Dog Stars; David Gillham’s novel of WWII Berlin, City of Women; and In the Shadow of the Banyan, Vaddey Ratner’s novel set in the Cambodia of the Khmer Rouge. Out in paperback are Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son and Edie Meidav’s Lola, California.
The new media revolution has massacred the book review sections at many national newspapers, but it’s been just as unkind to movie reviewers. At his Salt Lake Tribune blog, Movie Cricket, SLT film critic Sean P. Means keeps a list of all of the movie reviewers who’ve gotten the axe.
In Bogotá, Colombia, a garbage collector by the name of Jose Gutierrez has been working tirelessly to rescue thrown-away children’s books for use in his homemade community library. If this doesn’t immediately call to mind Bohumil Hrabal’s classic Too Loud a Solitude, then it might be time for a re-read. Also, check out this Millions essay by John Yargo on Hrabal’s rambling fiction.
The political unrest in Moscow is significant and worth covering, but it’s important to verify the facts. Over the weekend, a picture of an enormous crowd went viral, and it was billed as an image of anti-Putin demonstrations. This is not true. The image is actually from a 1991 rally in which protesters called for Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation. It even appears in this Atlantic article from December, 2011.