We’ve thought a lot about Leonard Cohen over the years. We’re perhaps, uh, not the only ones. Recently, Cohen’s love letters to Marianne Ihlen sold for a whopping $876,000. While Ihlen and Cohen’s love is recorded in songs like “So Long, Marianne,” these letters appear to preserve something more quotidian: the writing and publication of Cohen’s novels. Referring to his debut, The Favorite Game, Cohen wrote that the literary critics have “all screamed about the wild undisciplined dirty book, so it’s selling quite well.”
Out this week: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes; The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri; Between Friends by Amos Oz; and a new paperback edition of The Round House by Louise Erdrich. For more information on these books and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2013 Book Preview.
When, in 1921, a young French writer working as a translator for James Joyce asked the writer to reveal his schema for Ulysses, Joyce balked, saying that “If I gave it all up immediately, I’d lose my immortality.” What he meant, at least in part, is that he wanted his opus to be relevant in perpetuity. At Full-Stop, Dustin Illingworth reads Ulysses on Twitter and asks: can the book survive the transition from the page to social media? Pair with: Josh Cook on The House of Ulysses by Julian Rios.
After a Boston attorney banned the publication of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman set out to defend the book, arguing that the sex that earned the book censorship was an integral part of the experience he wanted to convey. In an essay for Salon, John Marsh examines Whitman’s defense in light of the content of his work, exploring the ways in which he upset Puritan mores. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on how Walt Whitman saved his life.
This has nothing to do with books, but if you’re like me, it’s important, life-altering, and worthy of constant news coverage: The Girl Scouts are releasing a new cookie for their 100th Anniversary. The lemony “Savannah Smiles” will commemorate the Scouts’ southern roots. Need help tracking down a box? I suggest the Girl Scout Cookie Locator app for your smartphone.