We’ve published essays before on the importance of good grammar, but it’s rare that something comes along that illustrates its value so clearly. A couple weeks ago, the Times published a blurb about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a recent essay collection by Ann Patchett, that led to the author sending in what may be the best correction of all time. For more on Patchett’s work, you could read Kevin Charles Redmon on her book State of Wonder.
What if Petrarch had blurbed The Divine Comedy, or Shakespeare, "author of Tony Award-winning sensation Hamlet," had reviewed Don Quixote? Tom Rachman imagines these blurbs and more for The Rumpus, and his piece pairs well with our brief history of the blurb.
Maybe nobody read your first, or last, most recent or only book, but writer, take heart: nobody read the work of these 10 great authors either.
“Every atom of my blood, form’d in the soil of this earth, runs hot / As I wheel through this snaked monster of steel, The Steamin’ Demon.” Ride The Steamin’ Demon at Six Flags with Walt Whitman. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s piece on how Whitman saved his life.
New this week: All That Is by James Salter, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Woke Up Lonely by Fiona Maazel, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner, The Mermaid of Brooklyn by Amy Shearn, The Odds Against Tomorrow by Nathaniel Rich, and Our Man in Iraq by Robert Perisic.