New Yorkers! Come out tonight and celebrate Kingsley Amis alongside the Volume 1 Brooklyn crew, the New York Review of Books Classics publishers, and also such guests as Parul Sehgal, Rosie Schaap, and Maud Newton. There will be free gin! However if you can’t make it, you can treat yourself to the Kingsley Amis Desert Island Discs from the comfort of your own home. The discs, recorded around the time The Old Devils was published, reveal the author’s views on “novel mechanics,” the “Welsh temperament,” and his affinity for jazz.
In 1979, William Gaddis taught a course at Bard College on “The Literature of Failure,” examining works that somehow focused on personal failure or insufficiency. These included, among other books, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays, as well as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. In Bookforum, Casey Michael Henry takes on a related genre: the literature of obsolescence. You could also read James Cappio on meeting Gaddis in person.
“Charles Dickens had orphanages and workhouses, the Brontë sisters had the wild moors, and modern writers have high school.” So begins L.A. Times television critic Mary McNamara‘s take on The Vampire Diaries, the CW’s answer to Twilight (premiering tonight at 8). The show is loosely based on L.J. Smith‘s books of the same name and McNamara gives it a qualified thumbs up. She concludes that this latest addition to the vampire canon is “pure froth, but it is very welcome froth, especially in a genre that seems sometimes in danger of taking itself a little too seriously.”