Open Letters Monthly, October 2012

OK, it’s really fall now. The leaves are spinning around in the chilly breeze, the days are contracting, the stores are filling up with Christmas decorations. And the October issue of Open Letters Monthly is out—the perfect accompaniment to a little mulled cider and that bag of candy corn you bought “to get a jump on the Halloween rush” and that you’ve been “saving” for the “trick-or-treaters.” It’s OK, you can bust it out. We won’t tell.

In the wonderful world of revamped covers, Steve Donoghue offers up Edward McCrorie’s new translation of Homer’s The Iliad and then takes a look (ahem) at the new paperback movie-tie-in version of Pete Dexter’s The Paperboy, guaranteed to meet all your Zac Efron needs (and at least a few of your Pete Dexter ones).

In the it’s-a-tough-job-but-somebody’s-gotta-do-it department, Greg Waldmann goes deep into the Mitt Romney bookshelf: Michael Kranish and Scott Helman’s The Real Romney, R.B. Scott’s Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney’s own Turnaround (with some help from Timothy Robinson), and his No Apology (with no help from anyone, as well as no apologies), ultimately pinning him both ideologue and weathervane.

John Cotter reviews Paul Auster’s Winter Journal, demonstrating that he has a higher tolerance for narration in the second person singular and chronic thematic repetition than I would, but finding it somewhat wanting anyway.

Steve Danziger weighs in on Jason Weiss’ entertaining tale of ups and downs in the music business, Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk’, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America.

Maureen Thorson shades her eyes a bit and looks at the “whoops and admonitions” of Anthony Madrid’s poetry collection, I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say.

Justin Hickey gives The Walking Dead its due: “… no triteness. No schlock. And in their absence, brilliance has bloomed.”

And speaking of well-rendered, horror, Adam Golaski reminisces about the CBC radio series—yes, remember those?—Nightfall.

Joe Betz talks about Emily Pettit’s playfully surrealist book of poems, Goat in the Snow.

Luciano Mangiafico reflects on the frenetic amorous (and, when he had time, creative) life of Gabriele D’Annunzio. (Why does the phrase “sexual acrobatics” make me think of a trapeze? Oh, don’t answer that.)

From Kate Colby, an original poem, The Passage.

Steve Donoghue checks out The Complete Dinosaur, 2nd ed., edited by M. K. Brett-Surman, Thomas R. Holtz, Jr., and James O. Farlow—not written for your average eight-year-old, as it turns out (or for the layperson in general), but fascinating nonetheless.

Daniel Green reviews The Future is Not Ours: New Latin American Fiction edited by Diego Trelles Paz and translated by Janet Hendrickson, and its dark progression beyond the borders of Borges, Cortázar, and Garcia Marquez.

In Douglass Shand-Tucci’s American Aristocracy series, he examines the saga of Copley Square’s Trinity Church and its controversial rector, Philips Brooks.

And just in case you haven’t had enough politics to fill your evenings, Phillip A. Lobo takes a look at Stardock Entertainment’s simulation game The Political Machine 2012.

Irma Heldman gives us a twofer with a couple of mysteries from very different worlds: Lee Child’s A Wanted Man and Louise Penny’s The Beautiful Mystery.

This month’s very autumnal cover image is Ink 2009, by Katie Caron.


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