Earlier this month, I wrote about Louis Menand’s recent New Yorker piece about The Life of Saul Bellow, a new biography of the Nobel laureate by Zachary Leader. Now, in the LRB, Andrew O’Hagan reads the book. Sample quote: “Bellow’s community was his subject and his subject was his voice.”
“The good detective story writer (there must after all be a few) competes not only with all the unburied dead but with all the hosts of the living as well. And on almost equal terms; for it is one of the qualities of this kind of writing that the thing that makes people read it never goes out of style.” Raymond Chandler’s 1950 essay, “The Simple Art of Murder” is a real gem.
Out this week: Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson; Shining Sea by Anne Korkeakivi; White Nights in Split Town City by Annie DeWitt; War and Turpentine by Stefan Hertmans; How to Party with an Infant by Kaui Hart Hemmings; Arrowood by Laura McHugh; and The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.
UNESCO announced this week that Krakow has been named the seventh City of Literature. The Polish municipality joins Edinburgh, the first UNESCO City of Literature, and Iowa City, Melbourne, Dublin, Reykjavik and Norwich. The city has been home to such notable authors as Nobel Prize winners Henryk Sienkiewicz, Władysław Stanisław Reymont, Czesław Miłosz, and Wisława Szymborska.
Apropos of our popular “Open Letter to Kanye West,” may we recommend the “Shouts & Murmurs in this week’s New Yorker? “I have more than a million [Facebook] fans,” writes a certain unnamed narrator. “Do you know how many fans Books have? Twenty-five thousand seven hundred and sixty-four.”
Darryl Pinckney and Zadie Smith discuss Beyoncé, literature, and achievement in a recent podcast from the New York Public Library. More reasons to love the library. Revisit our review of Smith’s NW if you’re looking for a book to pick up at your local library.