In the latest issue of The New York Review of Books, Jean Strouse brings us inside John Singer Sargent’s inner circle. The exhibition, “Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends,” is on view at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art until October 4th. You could also read Edra Ziesk’s piece on what makes a friend.
Actress Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, will be producing a film adaptation of A Moveable Feast, a memoir of Hemingway’s early years as a writer in Paris. The essays feature a colorful cast of literary characters, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein, and Alice B. Toklas.
Can you hear me, Major Tom? The world lost one of the good ones today in David Bowie; celebrate his enormous contributions to art as we know it and take a look at this list of Bowie’s 100 essential books which includes everyone from Camille Paglia to Anthony Burgess. Bonus: here’s a link to Bowie singing “Changes” in what became his final live performance.
One in ten residents of Iceland will publish something in their lifetime. (Compare that to the United States.) And all residents receive the bókatíðindi – a volume listing approximately 90% of all books being published in Iceland – free of charge. Indeed, as Mark Medley notes, when it comes to literary ambitions, the Land of Fire and Ice is “punching above its weight class.”
In Karen Russell‘s Swamplandia!, there is an enchanting place known as the abandoned Library Boat. “It held a cargo of books,” Ava Bigtree explains, “In the thirties and forties, Harrel M. Crow, a fisherman and bibliophile, had piloted the schooner around our part of the swamp delivering books to the scattered islanders. Then Harrel M. Crow died and I guess that was it for the door-to-door service. But his Library Boat, miraculously, had survived on the rocky island, unscavenged, undestroyed by hurricanes. It was an open secret, utilized by all our neighbors.” Now something similar has moored in England’s canals. And, across the Atlantic, one New Yorker is keeping his own open secret.
A couple of weeks ago, I pointed readers to the trailer for Olive Kitteridge, the new HBO show based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by Year in Reading alum Elizabeth Strout. In this week’s New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum sizes up the new series, describing it as a case study in bringing a work of fiction to the screen. “In the course of four hours, the miniseries casts a West Coast spell on scenes of Yankee repression,” she writes.