A week ago I got an email from the soon-to-be-late, relatively unlamented Google Wave with a subject line explaining that it was “sunsetting” after the end of this coming January. Sunsetting… now there’s a euphemism for you. I guess, given any number of possible synonyms, that’s kind of a peaceful and elegant one, if a little silly. Still, if it’s OK with the folks at Google it’s OK with me, so I’m here to tell you that as 2011 gently sunsets, Open Letters Monthly has posted its December issue.
As befits an end-of-year observance, there are not one but two gloriously alphabetical Year in Reading roundups. The first features reports from John Cotter, Steve Donoghue, Jeffrey Eaton, Elisa Gabbert, and Adam Golaski; the second from Kennen McCarthy, myself, Sam Sacks, Joanna Scutts, and Greg Waldmann. We are an eclectic bunch, to say the least, and it’s a great collection.
In the Open Letters Weekly feature, Steve Donoghue checks out the reissue of John Keay’s excellent China: A History.
Michael Adams looks at the life and legacy of playwright Terence Rattigan.
Stephen Akey appreciates the discretion that is the better part of valor in The Odes of Horace.
In On the Scent, Elisa Gabbert—whose perfume writing just gets better and better, and I don’t even like perfume—takes a look at some of the more mainstream scents around.
Rosemary Mitchell reviews the recent two-volume reprint of H.F.M. Prescott’s The Man on a Donkey, the “War and Peace of the English Protestant Reformation.”
Irma Heldman approves the passing of Ian Fleming’s torch to Jeffrey Deaver, with his Carte Blanche: The New James Bond Novel.
Steve Donoghue winds up his Year with the Windsors with a portrait of young heir to the throne Prince William.
Jack Hanson gives us a fine new poem, The Work.
Open Letters talks to this month’s cover artist, Pattie Lee Becker, about the wonderful agitation of her drawing and sculpture.
Casey Fiore revisits Mel Gibson’s Yucatan tour de force film Apocalypto.
As for the OLM Quiz, Humbled for the Holidays, let’s just say I’m already humble. Bring on the holidays.
(The drawing above is Pattie Lee Becker’s Rebirth to the Stars.)