Is he a vandal? Is he a post-Situationist? Maybe the text-art Banksy? Who knows. One thing is for sure – Scottish poet Robert Montgomery is taking his poetry to the streets.
“Still, it’s difficult to know whether [Shel] Silverstein, who died of a heart attack in 1999, after keeping out of the public eye for more than two decades, meant for us to read the book so conclusively. His biography and body of work suggest a subtler, and, in the end, perhaps an even more troubling, way of looking at it.” Ruth Margalit on The Giving Tree.
Here's a novel idea: using literature to map out the emotions of a time period. (1940s? Sad. 1920s? Happy. 2010s? ...Don't ask.)
"The morning after the opening sentence took shape, Heller “arrived at work”—at the Merrill Anderson Company—“with my pastry and container of coffee and a mind brimming with ideas, and immediately in longhand put down on a pad the first chapter of an intended novel.” The handwritten manuscript totaled about 20 pages. He titled it Catch-18. The year was 1953." Happy Birthday Joseph Heller, author of the anti-war classic Catch-22, born this day in 1923 in Coney Island, New York.
"Like reading, love works in roughly the same way every time, but the details of any given case are irreducibly particular, and it's in the details that everything happens." Lidija Haas on Elif Batuman's debut novel, The Idiot. (You could also read our review by Virginia Marshall.)
It goes without saying that a man dubbed “the father of modern conservatism” might stir up contentious debates. In his heyday, Edmund Burke was so renowned as a thinker that his detractors tried to place him at the center of conspiracy theories. In a new biography, Jesse Norman tackles Burke’s thought in its entirety -- a task which, in Charles Hill's view, is nothing if not un-Burkean.
Not every worthy book finds the audience it deserves as quickly as Edan Lepucki's California. John Warner writes about the long aftermath of finding his debut, The Funny Man, featured in our 2011 Most Anticipated Book Preview: "I wondered, what if? Maybe this was going to be the next phase of my life, and when people asked me what I did, I’d say that I wrote novels." His new collection of short stories is Tough Day for the Army.