In the NYRB, a new article on Chris Ware, accompanied by an old joke — dreamt up by none other than Gore Vidal — that a hypothetical New York Review of Comic Books might replace its eponymous predecessor. Last week, our own Mark O’Connell reviewed Mr. Ware’s latest book.
With the help of Johnny Depp, author Douglas Brinkley plans to release Woody Guthrie’s unpublished novel House of Earth next year. Guthrie finished the manuscript—which should yield a finished book about 250-pages long—in 1947, and it concerns a couple from West Texas who fight against banks and lumber companies.
“The idea that a ‘book of the year’ can be assessed annually by a bunch of people – judges who have to read almost a book a day – is absurd, as is the idea that this is any way of honouring a writer.” Amit Chaudhuri in The Guardian about why the Man Booker Prize “is bad for writers.” And in these pages, Mark O’Connell asks why we care about literary awards at all.
During the production of his classic film, Man of Aran, Robert Flaherty also directed an 11-minute short entitled Oidhche Sheanchais (“A Night of Storytelling”). It’s widely considered to be the first film recorded in the Irish language. For years, all extant copies were believed to be lost in a fire, but recently, researchers at Harvard’s Houghton Library rediscovered a nitrate print of the film.
“I wanted to be able to approach the subject from many different angles, not just the one most people think of when they think of war: an infantryman with a rifle killing the enemy. What does one make of one’s moral responsibility for killing when you’re part of a crew-fired-weapon whose rounds strike miles away, when you’re not even sure if you have killed people or how many? What about when you’re a chaplain trying to influence policy, or a psychological operations soldier trying to help shape the battlefield?” Phil Klay, author of the National Book Award-winning collection Redeployment, on modes of storytelling and on the psychological difference between citizens and veterans.
We are all Beliebers: the London Review of Books reviews The Love Song of Jonny Valentine, whose author, Teddy Wayne, told us last month that “it misses the point to discard fiction simply because it’s about social media or the celebrity-gossip machine and not Iraq or divorce.”
“Each imaginary book is a demonstration of fiction’s magic, as an author deposits into a fictional world yet another fictional world, like one universe bubbling out of another.” On Borges and other authors’ fictional texts and his library of imaginary books. Jeff Peer introduces us to Borges as a professor in his review of Professor Borges: A Course on English Literature.
Jonah Lehrer may not have exactly “self-plagiarized” his own work, but he certainly did recycle a good amount of his writing in a misleading way. And while many have criticized this kind of lazy writing, it’s worth revisiting Tim Requarth and Meehan Crist’s critical review of Lehrer’s book, Imagine, which plays a central role in this entire scandal.