Considering the sheer volume of references in the cultural air, you probably believe you have a pretty good grasp of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. To this I say, hold up there, Straw Man Reader — Ye Olde Romance That Could has more to it than you think.
Some reviews of Dave Eggers’s new novel, Hologram for the King, are starting to appear: Carolyn Kellogg writes that the story is accessibly though “elegantly told,” and Michiko Kakutani describes the prose as almost surprisingly “pared down” and “Hemingwayesque.”
Word came out yesterday that Jonathan Galassi and Year in Reading alum Mona Simpson will join the Paris Review editorial board. Former editors both — Galassi edited the magazine’s poetry, while Simpson edited its fiction — the two will join Rose Styron, Jeffrey Eugenides and other notable figures on the board. Simpson also has a new novel coming out in April.
Neil Gaiman is famous for a lot of reasons, but perhaps the number one reason is Sandman, the graphic novel series that won the author nineteen Eisner and six Harvey awards. Now, twenty-five years after publishing the first issue, Gaiman has written a prequel, named Overture.
Don’t blame Amazon or Goodreads for authors writing rave reviews of their own work. Writers have been self-promoting since the 1700s, when it was called “puffery.” As Nicholas Mason writes for Symposium Magazine, “Nearly every British writer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries either participated in or benefitted from ginned-up book reviews.” The list of puffed up authors includes Mary Wollstonecraft, Walter Scott, and Mary Shelley.