How dedicated is Robert Caro to his task of identifying and faithfully portraying the character of Lyndon Johnson? So dedicated that he turned down free tickets to see Bryan Cranston’s play about the 36th President of the United States of America.
In her controversial book The Fall of Language in the Age of English, Minae Mizumura argues that English, thanks largely to its global predominance, threatens to lessen the diversity of expression in the world. At Bookslut, she tells interviewer Corinna Pichl about her book, her issues with lingua francas and things you can say in Japanese that you can’t say in English.
At long last Renata Adler’s re-released Speedboat is out from NYRB Classics. The book’s attracted quite a bit of (deserved) pre-release hype. Also out today are a pair of books covered in our Great 2013 Book Preview: Vladimir Nabokov’s The Tragedy of Mr. Morn (no relation to yours truly) and Aleksandar Hemon’s The Book of My Lives. In three days you can get your hands on Kristopher Jansma’s debut novel The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards.
Colm Tóibín’s new book on Elizabeth Bishop is unusually hard to categorize. Part “primer,” part “personal reflection,” in Jonathan Farmer’s words, it moves back and forth between analysis and lyricism, alternating passages of beauty with nuts-and-bolts guides to Bishop’s poems. In Slate, Farmer tries to nail it down. You could also read our own Michael Bourne’s review of Tóibín’s The Master.
As if demonstrating exemplary literary skill weren’t enough, some overachieving authors were accomplished visual artists as well, notes AbeBooks in a roundup of talent that includes e e cummings, Günter Grass, Herman Hesse, and Jack Kerouac. Consider also our own Bill Morris on artists who channel writers in their own aesthetics.