“The book documents its time, a time when homosexuality was illegal, and still described in medical books as a mental illness. It is one of the best firsthand accounts of what it was like to be gay in the mid-20th century — ostracized — separate from the mainstream world. It reveals, through its characters, how young men couldn’t admit, even to themselves, that they were what society deemed perverted.” On the novel City of Night by John Rechy.
A very big week for new books: See Now Then by Jamaica Kincaid; My Brother’s Book, the last book completed by Maurice Sendak before his death in May 2012; How Literature Saved My Life by David Shields; The City of Devi by Manil Suri; a new edition of Breakfast at Tiffany’s & Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote; The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne (see our interview today); P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters; Wise Men by Stuart Nadler; debut novels Autobiography of Us by Aria Beth Sloss and Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer; City of Angels, an autobiographical novel by Christa Wolf; and House of Earth, the lost novel of Woody Guthrie.
Poetry readership among U.S. adults is the highest it’s been in 15 years—with young adult readership (among 18-24 year olds) nearly doubling—according to the National Endowment for the Arts’ 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). (For what it’s worth: The Millions has always loved poetry).
This week in beautiful books: Eugène Delacroix once illustrated Goethe’s Faust, and Goethe himself claimed the resulting lithographs “surpassed my own vision.” A full version of the work is now available online. And in a slightly more light-hearted vein, English Russia has found and scanned a delightful Soviet version of The Hobbit, complete with a Gollum straight out of Dr. Seuss.
“Ms. Cline, who was 27 when the novel came out, was celebrated as a major new talent. But for the last two years, her success has been overshadowed, in private, by legal threats levied against her by a former boyfriend.” Emma Cline, bestselling author of The Girls, and her ex-boyfriend, Chaz Reetz-Laiolo, have filed public lawsuits against each other including allegations of plagiarism, physical abuse, and intimidation, according to the New York Times. From our archives: staff writer Michael Bourne‘s review of Cline’s debut novel.