Teddy Roosevelt could read an entire book before breakfast. Kim Peek (Rain Man) could read two pages of text simultaneously. Perhaps by using some combination of both techniques, you’ve managed to make your way through our entire Great 2013 Book Preview. Or perhaps you’re just looking for some poetry and science fiction recommendations. Well, either way Mark Sanderson and China Miéville have you covered, respectively.
Shakespeare was an insult master, as were Churchill, Dorothy Parker, Oscar Wilde and… Cézanne? Apparently so. In The Irish Times, Colm Tóibín reads through the painter’s letters, one of which includes a gripe that “Pissarro is an old fool [and] Monet is a wily bird.” (You could also read Claire Cameron's Millions review of Tóibín’s latest novel.)
David Mitchell, when questioned about his language and genre experiments, particularly in Cloud Atlas and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, responds: "It's a bit like asking a duck billed platypus if it should be considered a mammal or a bird." The Millions also profiled Mitchell, though we never settled either way on the bird/mammal issue.
Must female characters always stand in the shadow of the institution of marriage? Ivan Kreilkamp writes on female bachelors, from Renata Adler’s Speedboat to Elizabeth Hardwick’s Sleepless Nights. Pair with this Millions essay on Adler’s piecemeal novel.
“If Schiff is right to accuse us of nurturing an unrequited infatuation with what amounts to America’s first tabloid scandal, then she’s done the literary equivalent of force us into a cold shower.” The New Republic reviews Stacy Schiff’s new book, The Witches: Salem, 1692.
Recommended Reading: Tabitha Blankenbiller responds to The New York Times' piece on Manly Book Clubs. “Reading the article yet again, my pity for this dude squad begins to blossom. To think that they will head into the ground without the words of Terry Tempest Williams or Lidia Yuknavitch or Sandra Cisneros in their hearts.” For a bit of humor about a manly book club, check out our rock ‘n’ roll book club.