In an excerpt of Out of Time, a new book on “the pleasures and perils of ageing,” author Lynne Segal makes a case that many iconic male writers — among them Philip Roth, John Updike and Martin Amis — display in their works a belief that the slow loss of virility is one of the most tragic effects of growing older for men. Citing passages from Toward the End of Time and Portnoy’s Complaint, she finds evidence that these writers’ depictions of masculinity reveal “obdurate social hierarchies of gender and ageing.” (Related: Keith Meatto on advice you can glean from Philip Roth’s work.)
“Poe’s verses illustrate an intense faculty for technical and abstract beauty, with the rhyming art to excess, an incorrigible propensity toward nocturnal themes, a demoniac undertone behind every page—and, by final judgment, probably belong among the electric lights of imaginative literature, brilliant and dazzling, but with no heat.” – Walt Whitman on Edgar Allan Poe’s significance, circa 1880.
“We find ourselves in a swarm of fellow starstruck souls outside the Sheraton Hotel on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan, churning, squirming.” 25 years after the publication of Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe returns to the subject of Wall Street. You can also check out my review of his most recent novel, Back to Blood, over here.
Book lists galore: The Believer announces its annual book award winner, along with the always eclectic reader survey results; Forty of Nick Hornby’s favorite books – he thinks you’ll like at least a few; You may not be able to register for Zadie Smith’s fiction seminar, but you can read the same books.Rushdie considers the art of the adaptation.And so it came to pass: the “pay what you want” eBook.A comic-book map of New York.Emily Bobrow digs Leanne Shapton’s brains……where certain other reviewers the VQR could name might get hung up on her jacket photo.Whose tweets are these? I think I know.Tom McCarthy and the lovable lads of the International Necronautical Society are at it again.The Reagan diaries offer “scrupulous, concise, often remarkably good reading,” says Open Letters Monthly.Anne Trubek at Good Magazine (and Oberlin College professor!) on “What is a Book?“Paul Maliszewski at Bookslut on “What is a Fake?“New features for the Kindle.We’re digging the cover for Colson Whitehead’s forthcoming novel, Sag Harbor.Wikipedia find of the week: Fakelore: “Fakelore is inauthentic, manufactured folklore presented as if it were genuinely traditional.”Murakami’s uneasy relationship with Japan: “He has been seen, and to some degree positioned himself, as a literary pariah in Japan, in part because of its tepid-to-negative critical reception of his work.”Further reading: Check out the interesting Kindle pro and con in the comments of Max’s Kindle/iPhone post this week; And check out the interesting discussion of the New Yorker’s commitment (or lack thereof) to international literature in the comments of Garth’s DFW post.And finally, a concrete step toward breaking our addiction to foreign oil.
Teju Cole’s Every Day Is for the Thief is out this week, as is Karen Russell’s e-book novella Sleep Donation. Also out: The Brunist Day of Wrath by Robert Coover; Falling Out of Time by David Grossman; Bad Teeth by Dustin Long; The Land of Steady Habits by Ted Thompson; and The Space Between Us by Zoya Pirzad.