For The New Yorker, Stephanie Burt examines how the work of poet Seamus Heaney became synonymous with happiness and joy—and how it came to be quoted by presidents and casual readers alike. “It is this later, happier Heaney who comes into his own in his family’s idiosyncratic selection. Almost buoyant, occasionally repetitive, surprised by himself at least as often as he surprised readers, this Heaney remained self-conscious, revisiting and answering earlier verse. ‘The Conway Stewart’ is a fancy pen, the first the poet owned, and the sharp-lined, short-lined poem of that name returns to a three-way comparison in ‘Digging’ (the first poem in his first book), between spade and pen and gun.”
Conversational Reading covers “Four Greek Writers That You Should (and Can) Read.”Wells Tower interviewed on The Dinner Party Download.Anne Trubek at Good Magazine recommends our site to “Post-Collegiate Literary Types”The Elegant Variation gets a new reader. Congratulations, Mark!Make of this what you will: “Popular Japanese horror writer Koji Suzuki will publish a short novel called Drop on rolls of toilet paper.”Wikipedia Find of the Week I: Criticism of Wikipedia (so meta)Wikipedia Find of the Week II: No one cares about your garage band (so snarky)”Updike’s Sunset:” Kakutani takes on two newly published Updike collections, My Father’s Tears and Other Stories and Endpoint and Other Poems.Further Reading: Consider revisiting our guest post from last week, Finding Indie Opportunity on The Kindle, where a very interesting discussion developed in the comments.
Even as much of the Eastern U.S. is lashed by a massive storm, we have new books this week, skewing mostly to non-fiction, including Kurt Vonnegut’s collected letters, Richard Russo’s memoir Elsewhere, James Wood’s collection of essays The Fun Stuff, and Peter Carlin’s authorized biography of Bruce Springsteen. On the fiction side is Emma Donoghue’s Astray.
The New Yorker Book Bench is having a contest. Submit a photo of your pet dressed as a character from literature. My kittens are in for the worst two weeks of their young lives. Dante and Fur-gil? Tess of the O’Paw-bervilles? Jay Catsby?
Oh my god. So many possibilities.
Independent publisher Melville House worked straight through December to publish the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture in time for the New Year. Now co-founder Dennis Johnson talks with Vulture about why his press decided to publish the book at all, and about the varied moral and practical concerns at stake when working on such a project.