Out this week: The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer; The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory; A Long Way Home by Peter Carey; Claude Before Time and Space by Claudia Emerson; and The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa.
“We all read from different places, different backgrounds, and my meeting with Proust or Woolf, or Lydia Davis or J. M. Coetzee, will not be yours, nor should it be. On the other hand I do believe reading is an active skill, an art even, certainly not a question of passive absorption. … [so] there must be techniques and tools that everyone can use or try, even if we use them differently.” Tim Parks explains how he reads for The New York Review of Books.
“Is this skyscraper autobiographical?” People say some pretty ridiculous things about writing. To put it in perspective, Mallory Ortberg presents “If We Talked About Architecture Like We Talk About Writing.”
Andrew Hazlett discovers that following the keyword “humanities” on Twitter is not the best way to keep tabs on the discipline.
As the holiday shopping wars heat up, Amazon has announced a surprise offer of free one-day shipping through December 22 on thousands of items, but not, as best as I can tell, books. Of course, in Amazon’s eyes, all those ebooks already ship instantaneously.
Shakespeare is required reading for the would-be literary scholar, yet with so many articles, books and monographs on the Bard in circulation, it might be time to ask: have English professors finally said all there is to say?
There’s an old story that states that Marcel Proust met James Joyce for five unremarkable minutes at a dinner party. Artistically significant though it may have been, it had less geopolitical significance than another famous meeting a hundred years earlier, in which Napoleon went out of his way to pay a visit to Goethe. As a new biography of the French emperor details, Napoleon couldn’t understand why Goethe admired Shakespeare.