In 1979, William Gaddis taught a course at Bard College on “The Literature of Failure,” examining works that somehow focused on personal failure or insufficiency. These included, among other books, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays, as well as Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. In Bookforum, Casey Michael Henry takes on a related genre: the literature of obsolescence. You could also read James Cappio on meeting Gaddis in person.
Out this week: The Ancient Minstrel by Jim Harrison; Prodigals by Greg Jackson; 99 Poems: New and Selected by Dana Gioia; Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett; Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves; and Slow Boat to China by Kim Chew Ng. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
Out this week: Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving; Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise by Oscar Hijuelos; Numero Zero by Umberto Eco; The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild; Wherever There Is Light by Peter Golden; City of Clowns by Daniel Alarcón; and The Mare by Mary Gaitskill (who we interviewed today). For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“For good or evil, we are a single people: the more we become conscious of this, the less difficult and long will be humanity’s progress towards justice and peace.” The inimitable Primo Levi on the spiritual value of science and its ability to bring people together.