“Yes, he cheated, he cracked up, he was irresponsible and even cruel in the way he marshaled his life for his art. Lowell nonetheless believed that women were his intellectual and artistic equals. He spent most of his life behaving accordingly even as he treated his wives and mistresses so terribly, in romantic terms, that it was almost operatic. That is the puzzle of Robert Lowell and women.” It’s not quite Valentine’s Day yet, but this piece on the inarguably tumultuous relationship between Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Hardwick is sure to make you feel something.
The headliners this week are on the non-fiction side: Michael Pollan’s Cooked and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. Also new in non-fiction: Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV by the Times’ Brian Stelter and Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. In fiction: The Humanity Project by Jean Thompson, The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard, Paris by Edward Rutherfurd, The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker, and The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley.
Man Booker judge Colin Thubron expressed frustration with gushing book blurbs, which he says “almost blackmail” readers: “you’re either intellectually or morally incompetent if you don’t love this book or you’ve failed if you haven’t understood it.” Our own Bill Morris tackled the age old question—”To Blurb or not Blurb”—a few years ago.