Part Into the Wild, part Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Howard Axelrod’s The Point of Vanishing is the story of his two years spent in profound solitude in the Vermont wilderness. Called “torture” by prison rights activists and “a threat to mental stability” by psychologists, Axelrod’s decision to sequester himself from society was nothing if not extreme. Alexander Supertramp would be proud.
Sasha Frere-Jones, who you may know from his work at The New Yorker, has listed his favorite albums of 2011, and even put together a Spotify playlist of some of his favorite singles. Isn’t that nice of him?
Ralph Waldo Emerson called him “the jingle-man.” Henry James called his work “decidedly primitive.” Yet Edgar Allan Poe, nearly two centuries after his death, is now acclaimed as a writer on par with his best contemporaries. How did his reputation evolve? In the Times Literary Supplement, Marjorie Perloff reviews a new study of Poe by Jerome McGann.
My “10 Best Songs Based on Books” list, from yesterday’s Observer (UK), is up on the Guardian’s website. Obviously it’s not so much the 10 Best as the 10 Best I could think of while writing the list, but that kind of equivocation makes for terribly unsnappy titles.
Amidst all the sad tales of great bookstores going under, the Strand remains a fixture of the New York lit scene. At Vulture, Chris Bonanos explores the many reasons why the Strand is still afloat, among them the store’s increasing sales of new books. You could also read our own Janet Potter on her lifelong infatuation with bookstores.