Open Letters Monthly, June 2012

What is so rare as a day in June? Well… pretty much anything, actually. There are 30 of them, after all, every year. But those 30 make up some prime calendar real estate—time to wind down the responsibilities of the year, fire up the grill, and get in some good reading as well. To that end, the newest issue of Open Letters Monthly is up for your June enjoyment—rare, medium, or well done.

For starters, we have Greg Waldmann on Steve Coll’s dark and sticky chronicle of oil and greed, Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.

John Cotter looks at Toni Morrison’s critically divisive Home.

Steve Donoghue keeps up with the Windsors with three biographies of Queen Elizabeth: Sally Bedell Smith’s Elizabeth the Queen, Andrew Marr’s The Real Elizabeth, and Robert Hardman’s Her Majesty: Queen Elizabeth and Her Court.

Justin Hickey bursts forth viscidly with a great piece about The Alien franchise.

Steve Danziger reviews the work of “one of science fiction’s greatest humorists,” Store of the Worlds: The Stories of Robert Sheckley.

Breaking up is hard to do, but Phillip A. Lobo talks about ending it with Diablo III.

Rohan Maitzen examines what’s wrong—and a little of what’s right—in George Eliot’s Romola.

Joshua Lustig posits that those who don’t learn from the past have already, to some extent, repeated it, and proposes that the powers that be take a look at David Halberstam’s portrait of the Vietnam-era Establishment, The Best and the Brightest.

Sandra Simonds gives us a somewhat David Hockneyesque original poem, Peruvian Pan Flutes.

Robert Latona takes a look at Álvaro Mutis’ wonderful classic The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll, and the Heart of Darkness connection (“It’s about a boat going upriver, and so is my story, The Snow of the Admiral. If I had known what I was letting myself in for, I would have had that boat go downriver”).

Douglas Shand-Tucci continues his examination of the American Aristocracy with a report on The Boston Brahmin Aesthetic (I wasn’t aware there even was one).

Irma Heldman gives us Carsten Stroud’s mysterious tale of a not-very-nice town called Niceville.

And to stretch out your reading month just a little longer, there is also some fine archival material from Steve Donoghue, Rohan Maitzen, Ian Manfred St. Cyr, and John Cotter.

(This month’s photograph is by Jeff Proctor.)


1 Comment to Open Letters Monthly, June 2012

  1. June 24, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    And oh, was Prince Albert good-looking! The puffy paterfamilias in later photographs (not to mention the statue at the Frogmore Mausoleum) gives little hint of the dreamy Byronic reality of the early 1800s. Albert was only a few months older than Victoria, England’s young new queen, and his designing family shipped him and his brother across a choppy Channel to pay their respects in 1839 – and Victoria’s reaction was instantaneous: “It was with some emotion that I beheld Albert – who is beautiful.” (He’d developed considerably since the first time they met, three years previous, and Ernest, already a heavy drinker, had grown a bit shabbier) She elaborated in her journal: “such beautiful blue eyes, an exquisite nose, & such a pretty mouth – with delicate moustachios & slight but very slight whiskers: a beautiful figure, broad in the shoulders & fine waist.” In her youth, Victoria was always refreshingly frank about her admiration for male beauty; there was no question of it forming an important test for any prospective husband – and Albert passed.

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