Monthly Archives: April, 2011

For Véra

Even when I was 11, I remember finding Joy in the Morning, Betty Smith’s follow-up novel to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a little treacly for my taste. It was about a young couple, newly married and in love, and there was a fair amount of implied sex, so you’d think I’d have liked it. […]

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PEN World Voices Speak Up

The seventh annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature is in full swing this week in New York, featuring over 100 writers from around the world talking about the power of the written word and why it matters more than ever. The festival consists of panel discussions, one-on-one conversations, readings, lectures, and performances in […]

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Pushing the Envelope

I love a good run of literary correspondence, and since Rohan Maitzen at Novel Readings wrote so enthusiastically about it last fall, I’ve been reading bits and pieces from my copy of Dear Genius, The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. Nordstrom was publisher and editor in chief of juvenile books at Harper & Row between 1940 […]

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New Yorker fiction (Apr 25) – “The Good Samaritan”

The New Yorker has made the story available online only to subscribers. About his twenty-something son, imprisoned on drug charges, Szabo muses, “The body he had acquired in the weight room seemed to suit his current burdened personality.” The reality, though, is that no one in this story is without baggage; each one labors under […]

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Pocket Review: Galore by Michael Crummey

Galore Michael Crummey Other Press, 2011 As the title promises, Michael Crummey’s newest novel, Galore, delivers great abundance: of personalities, history, folklore, and vernacular. It is a yarn in the best sense of the word, unspooling over the course of a century in a small Newfoundland fishing village to give us not just the history […]

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The Dueling Inner Bloggers on Literary Decor

Two pretty out-there pieces of literary interior decoration have been making the rounds this week. And while both are delightful in their own right, they also drive home the point of how fiercely the creative and spontaneous blogger inside me is at war with the cranky old sleep-deprived blogger. Item #1: The Rug Made Out […]

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Autocorrect is Destiny: A Visit from the Goon Squad Wins the Pulitzer

The 2011 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced, with Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad taking the award for fiction. Siddhartha Mukherjee won the general nonfiction category with The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer; Eric Foner’s The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery took the history division; Ron Chernow […]

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New Yorker fiction (Apr 18) – “A Withered Branch”

The New Yorker has made the story available online only to subscribers. A brief story unfolds this week of two women, each incomplete in her own needs. One, a widow, traveling alone and penniless across the countryside, looking to publish her writings, seeking to reclaim her hospitalized young son. The other, having fled from her […]

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Transparencies

Chip Kidd has been getting a lot of positive buzz on his cover for Haruki Murakami’s IQ84, coming out here from Knopf in October. He talked a bit about his design concept on the Knopf Doubleday site: [L]ogistically the title is a book designer’s dream, because its unique four characters so easily adapt it to […]

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Poem in Your Pocket Day

Today is the 9th annual Poem in Your Pocket Day, this year falling right in the middle of National Poetry Month and the day before taxes are due; make of that what you like. Participation is elegantly simple: Pick a poem that means something to you, print or copy it—I’m a big fan of writing […]

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