Putting aside for a moment the racist phrenological roots of the terms “highbrow” and “lowbrow,” here’s an interesting conversation on what the difference between them means for literature now. For a historical take, check out this graphic from a 1949 edition of LIFE magazine, which taught me a real gentleman wears fuzzy tweed, and iceberg lettuce is never in style.
“Storytelling, she added, is a central part of Native American life, and, inevitably an obsessive part of hers. ‘It’s probably the most selfish thing I do,’ she said. ‘Truly. I don’t do it for anyone else. I do it because I have the addict’s need to get lost in the story.’” Louise Erdrich discusses her new novel LaRose.
“I do not wish to presume. I want to love. Oh God please make my mind clear.” It’s no secret that Flannery O’Connor was both an incredible writer and a devout Catholic. The New Yorker has just published a few excerpts from her Prayer Journal which are characteristically beautiful whether or not you’re a believer.
A really great, thoughtful post about independent book stores in New York from The Written Nerd. A must read if you are a bookseller or if you care about the state of independent bookstores. Read the whole thing and then see my comment on the post for my thoughts.As an antidote to all the “best of” lists, check out the post at Book World about the twelve books she wishes she hadn’t read this year.Least likely to be the next Oprah Book Club Pick: Kitty Kelley is writing an unauthorized bio of Oprah Winfrey.An esoteric obsession: Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie
Harold Bloom turns eighty-five this year, which makes it all the more impressive that his forty-fifth book, The Daemon Knows, comes out this week. At Vulture, Amy Bloom (no relation) has tea and scones with the Yale professor, who talks about Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and why a critic called his new book “an invectorium.” You could also read Matt Hanson on his last volume of criticism.
In his inaugural column for The New York Times Magazine, former New York Magazine critic Sam Anderson expands upon the idea he shared with us in his “Year in Marginalia,” his riff on our big Year in Reading series. And, as a sidebar to Anderson’s column, the Magazine has published a brief excerpt of John Brandon’s compelling essay from The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books (perhaps you’ve heard that title mentioned around here lately?)