Readers are mourning a fallen Monterey cypress tree, said to have inspired the classic Dr. Seuss book The Lorax (once considered a very dangerous book). “The tree was estimated to be about 80 to 100 years old,” according to Tim Graham, a spokesman for the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department, who added that there is “no definitive cause on why it fell.” Let’s hope a Truffula Seed is found quickly before things get worse.
Another big week for books is headlined by Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue (the book’s opening lines) and Junot Díaz’s This Is How You Lose Her. Also out are Susan Straight’s Between Heaven and Here, touted debuts The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, How Music Works by Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, and Bob Woodward’s latest Beltway tick-tock The Price of Politics.
Those of you with some knowledge of Pale Fire and Lolita won’t be surprised to learn what Nabokov thought of dinner parties. Namely, he thought they were awful, vaguely surreal events, held largely by drunkards with overriding appetites for drama. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein quotes a passage from “The Vane Sisters” to explain why “It’s hard to think of someone you’d want less at a midcentury faculty tea, save maybe a seething Shirley Jackson.” You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
What is the function of the art critic, anyway? According to Barry Schwabsky at The Nation, it is not “making or breaking” an artist, but rather “opening up perspectives without … belaboring them.” For the critically minded among you, here’s a Millions review of A.O. Scott’s new book Better Living Through Criticism.
Recommended Reading: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo collected sixteen short stories from sixteen authors among Cuba’s “Generación Año Cero” (Generation Year Zero), which is a “movement of writers who began publishing in 2000.” The anthology, which is available for free online in both English and Spanish, features illustrations from Cuban artists El Sexto and Luis Trápaga.
Edward Norton has wanted to adapt Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn since it came out, but finding financing was almost as difficult as solving Frank Minna’s murder. Now, Brett Ratner has agreed to fund the film with Norton directing and starring as Lionel Essrog.
As part of their ongoing effort to steer folks away from bad journalism, the folks at The Morning News are running a series on reading news wisely. This week, Brendan Fitzgerald takes a look at misleading headlines, urging readers to “let headlines pique your curiosity, but be sure journalists deliver.”