Recommended Reading: This lengthy piece from The New York Times on the history of Yiddish theater from schtick to stardom.
Here’s a novel idea: using literature to map out the emotions of a time period. (1940s? Sad. 1920s? Happy. 2010s? …Don’t ask.)
“’This splendid lady sandbagged me,’ Bloom said in a recent phone conversation, with the lofty, ungrudging admiration of an old general recalling an opposite number’s surprise attack at some long-ago battle. Flummoxed, he asked if they had not made an agreement. Ozick, Bloom recollects, said, ‘When you are dealing with the devil, you must be prepared to do anything!'” This New York Times Magazine profile of Cynthia Ozick makes it clear that, at 88, she shows no signs of slowing down.
In this week’s New York Times Magazine, a collaboration with ProPublica has produced a 13,000-word (!) article on what happened at New Orleans Memorial Medial Center where a number of patients died in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Who says long-form journalism is dead!
Out this week: The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson; Let Me Be Frank With You by Richard Ford; Mermaids in Paradise by Lydia Millet; Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter; Twilight of the Eastern Gods by Ismail Kadare; A Map of Betrayal by Ha Jin; Something Rich and Strange by Ron Rash; and Shark by Will Self. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are — by definition — failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.