In The Nation, Mark Oppenheimer reviews Janet Malcolm’s Forty-one False Starts, which includes the New Yorker staff writer’s early works of criticism. The problem, he writes, with her and most Western critics? “She is a snob, but wishes she weren’t.” (ICYMI: we published a review a few weeks ago.)
Have you ever wondered what The Great Gatsby would sound like? Designer Vladimir V. Kuchinov made The Generative Gatsby, a book that features typography based on famous 1920s jazz songs. "The following work is a visual experiment, a study of how music of this era, its rhythms, syncopations and patterns could alter prose to a new typographic frontiers keeping content legible as it could be," he writes on his website.
This Thursday, at Housing Works Bookstore in New York, Garth will represent The Millions in a live quiz show called (accurately) Don't Know Much About Literature. Kenneth C. and Jenny Davis, authors of DKMAL, the book, will host. Co-contestants include Jason Boog of Galleycat, Ed Champion of Reluctant Habits, Jason Toal of HTML GIANT, Catherine Lacey, and Buzz Poole of Mark Batty Publisher. We're told buzzers and beer are in the offing, and that second round contestants "include you!" We'd love to see you there.
"In the 1970s it circulated among Left Bank intellectuals, including Sartre and Bernard-Henri Lévy, as an aid to productive writing. In 1981 it was listed as a controlled substance in the US and in 1986, after it was scheduled under the WHO Convention on Psychotropic Substances, it was removed from prescription sale." The London Review of Books reviews two histories about the role of drugs in the fighting of wars, Blitzed: Drugs In the Third Reich by Norman Ohler and Shooting Up: A History of Drugs in Warfare by Łukasz Kamieński Hurst. Both pay particular attention to Captagon (the name a portmanteau of "captain" and "pentagon"), a pharmaceutical that has become common throughout Eastern Europe, the Gulf States, India, and China, and by 2014 "had become a significant source of funding for all sides in Syria’s civil war."
Laura Miller of Salon recommends Tana French’s new crime-fiction novel Faithful Place: “makes Philip Marlowe's L.A. look like a church picnic. French herself doesn't play by the rules...” Also out recently is a new edition of James Salter's short story collection Dusk and Other Stories, with a new introduction by former Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch.