Recommended listening: The Los Angeles Review of Books interviews author Lisa See.
“Long before the term ‘graphic novel’ was coined to explain long-form comic strips, the artist Milt Gross was making precursors to the format,” and one of his lost works is finally being republished. The work, Milt Gross’ New York, was written for the World’s Fair in 1939 and “follows the adventures of the sausage-nosed, conniving, yet amiable con man Pop.”
It’s not hard to find studies of the connection between creativity and alcohol. It’s a connection which great minds have remarked upon for centuries. But what’s less remarked upon is a more everyday relationship — the connection between great writing and food. In The New York Review of Books, Patricia Storace reads Sandra M. Gilbert’s The Culinary Imagination. (Related: Stephanie Bernhard tries out Hemingway’s recipes.)
Earlier this month, Jack Daniel’s wrote Patrick Wensink a cease-and-desist order because the cover of Wensink’s latest novel, Broken Piano For President, bears a striking resemblance to the whisky’s logo. Surprisingly, instead of some whisky-soaked tirade, the letter is really, really nice.
In 1913, four years before the Russian Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II made the now-baffling claim that a writer named Teffi was the only major Russian writer. At the time, however, his endorsement made sense, because everybody in Russia, from royalty on down, read Teffi’s work and “delighted” in it. Until the revolution, at which point she was consigned to oblivion. William Grimes writes about a new collection of her stories.
Recently, it seemed hard to find a book not blurbed by Gary Shteyngart. He did blurb 150 books in the past decade. Yet now the author has decided to mostly retire from blurbing, he announced in The New Yorker. “Literature can and will go on without my mass blurbing. Perhaps it may even improve.” Pair with: Our own Bill Morris’s essay on whether or not to blurb.