Jonathan Franzen’s Kraus Project should be “a match made in heaven,” writes Jacob Mikanowski, because of how it pairs together “the old hater [Karl Kraus] and the new [Franzen], the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of cultural criticism drawn together across the gulf of a century to take on all comers.” Alas, the end result is instead a “strange and rather discordant experience, like receiving a deep tissue massage while being spat on from a great height.” (Bonus: One of the best London Review of Books openers of all time.)
From icy Philadelphia, some links to start the day:The latest round at the LBC is over, but we’ve posted our nominees for the next round. Read the books now so you can discuss them with us in a month or so. I was a nominator this round and my pick is The Cottagers by Marshall N. Klimasewiski.An Ask Metafilter thread on books by women for men who don’t like books by women. Lots of good recommendations… Might do a separate “booklist” post here at some point compiling all those suggestions.Dan Wickett’s Dzanc Books has two more titles on the way, one by Yannick Murphy who wrote LBC nominee Here They Come and one by Wickett fave Peter Markus (who he mentioned in his 2006 best of here at The Millions.)Combining Garfield and reference books seems like a bad idea. Note: A groundbreaking work in that it is the “1st dictionary with attitude” (via)
Arisa Wright hits the nail on the head in this piece for LitHub, titled simply “In Praise of Our Black Women Poets“: “Clifton’s remark disabused me of the idea that there is something I must erase to make my poetry universal. She freed my mind and body; she freed my verse.”
“We all read from different places, different backgrounds, and my meeting with Proust or Woolf, or Lydia Davis or J. M. Coetzee, will not be yours, nor should it be. On the other hand I do believe reading is an active skill, an art even, certainly not a question of passive absorption. … [so] there must be techniques and tools that everyone can use or try, even if we use them differently.” Tim Parks explains how he reads for The New York Review of Books.