Exploring Books Through Articles, Reviews, Announcements, & Lists 2021-1

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Exploring Books Through Articles, Reviews, Announcements, & Lists 2021-1

Editado: Dic 30, 2020, 11:31am

Book topics, first quarter 2021, Jan.-Mar.

Note: will continue to add postings for articles published in the last quarter of 2020 Oct-Dec in the previous thread.

Editado: Dic 30, 2020, 11:32am

Este mensaje fue borrado por su autor.

Editado: Dic 30, 2020, 1:51pm

TLS, Jan. 1, 2021, no. 6144:

Literature & Arts:

Phillip Lopate. But what was he so cross about?: How John Steinbeck’s wrath pre-dated his social conscience. Review of: William Souder, Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck.

Graeme Richardson. Even Homer nods: Profitable Parnassian errors. Review of: Erica McAlpine, The Poet's Mistake.

Alexander Starritt. One of the better days: Re-reading One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. (Essay)

Jennie Erin Smith. Art of disappearance: Finding beauty in obfuscation in Natural History by Carlos Fonseca. Review of: Carlos Fonseca, translated by Megan McDowell, Natural History.

Colin Grant. Wound that never heals: A former US Poet Laureate honours her murdered mother. Review of: Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir.

Emily A. Bernhard Jackson. Wicked but fun: A detailed account of a century of scandalous Byrons. Review of: Emily Brand, The Fall of the House of Byron: Scandal and seduction in Georgian England.

Miranda Seymour. A live-in lawyer: The un-Byronic Lushingtons. Review of: David Taylor, The Remarkable Lushington Family: Reformers, Pre-Raphaelites, Positivists and the Bloomsbury Group.

Jonathan Drummond. Not dumb, not blonde: The stories of Dolly Parton. Review of: Dolly Parton, With Robert K. Oermann, Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics.

Judith Flanders. Devilish details: The radical shock of seeing a mysterious painting up close. Review of (British) National Gallery exhibition (through 02/28/21) Sensing the Unseen: Step Into Gossaert’s ‘Adoration.’ "Working not merely with traditional museum staff (curator and gallery deputy director Susan Foister) but a sound designer (Nick Ryan), a 3D installation designer (Vasilija Abramovic), a raft of technology experts, an animator (Wilkie Branson) and more, the gallery has pioneered a way for visitors to have an in-depth, in-person experience of a single work of art."

In Brief Review of: Stig Abell, Things I Learned on the 6.28. "Stig Abell’s account of a year’s worth of literary commuting on the way in to the offices of this paper" (i.e., TLS). "Sauntering through some great, and not so great, works of literature."

In Brief Review of: Claire M. L. Bourne, Typographies of Performance in Early Modern Printing. How early printing dealt with the text of plays; conventions of theater text typography.

In Brief Review of: Kaori Nagai, Imperial Beast Fables: Animals, cosmopolitanism, and the British Empire.

History, Politics, Society:

Ronald Wright. Germ warfare: How European viruses toppled the Aztec and Inca empires. Review of: David M. Carballo, Collision of Worlds: A deep history of the fall of Aztec Mexico and the forging of New Spain -- R. Alan Covey, Inca Apocalypse: The Spanish Conquest and the transformation of the Andean world -- Fernando Cervantes, Conquistadores: A New History.

Clifford Thompson. The four phases of Malcolm X: An important biography of a controversial, unforgettable man. Review of: Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X.

Louis Amis. Enacting an ideal freedom: The emblematic significance of a family home. Review of: Sarah Broom, The Yellow House.

Mika Ross-Southall. You’re on your own: Inside the strange business of preparing for an apocalypse. Review of: Bradley Garrett, Bunker: Building for the End Times.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson. Taking the future for a spin: Cars without drivers versus the pleasures of ‘self-directed mobility.’ Review of: Matthew Crawford, Why We Drive: On freedom, risk and taking back control and Anthony M. Townsend, Ghost Road: Beyond the driverless car.

David Hawkes. Breeding like rabbits: What Mary Toft’s strange story tells us about money and class. Review of: Karen Harvey, The Impostress Rabbit Breeder: Mary Toft and eighteenth-century England and Dexter Palmer, Mary Toft, or, The Rabbit Queen. "In 1726 Mary Toft, a day-labourer from Godalming in Surrey, pretended to give birth to a series of dissected rabbits."

Dic 31, 2020, 6:36pm

Overview of Dostoyevsky's philosophy:

Gary Saul Morson. New Criterion, Jan. 2021: Fyodor Dostoevsky: philosopher of freedom.

Editado: Ene 3, 3:02pm

A new biography of Cary Grant:

Chris Yogerst. Los Angeles Review of Books, 01/03/2021: A Man and His Persona. Review of: Scott Eyman: Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise.

Ene 3, 3:02pm

"Two books investigate the science and pseudoscience of diagnosing mental illness."

Gavin Francis. New York Review of Books, 01/14.2021: Changing Psychiatry’s Mind. Longform review of: Anne Harrington: Mind Fixers: Psychiatry’s Troubled Search for the Biology of Mental Illness and Nathan Filer: This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health: A Journey into the Heartland of Psychiatry aka The Heartland: finding and losing schizophrenia.

Editado: Ene 4, 11:03am

The perils of writing about Indian history:

Niha Masih. WaPo, 01/03/2021: In the battle over India’s history, Hindu nationalists square off against a respected historian. The historian is Romila Thapar.

A somewhat similar instance occurred with the publication of Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History.

Ene 4, 10:46am

An introduction to philosopher Saul Kripke:

Stephen Law. Aeon, 01/04/2021: The necessity of Kripke.

Ene 4, 11:03am

An interview with George (Lincoln in the Bardo) Saunders:

George Saunders interviewed by Killian Fox. The Guardian, 01/02/2021: George Saunders: 'These trenches we're in are so deep'.

Ene 4, 12:24pm

Book about the Blues:

Clifford Thompson. LARB, 01/04/2021 reviews: Kimberly Mack's Fictional Blues: Narrative Self-Invention from Bessie Smith to Jack White.

Ene 4, 12:29pm

In my childhood the Scrooge McDuck comic books, as Disney intended, sparked my love affair with capitalism:

Scott Bradfield. LARB, 01/04/2021: Carl Barks: The Last of the Dinosaurs. Review of: Carl Barks: Walt Disney’s Donald Duck “Under the Polar Ice” (The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library Vol. 23).

Ene 4, 12:44pm

The Library of America is publishing the works of Ernest Hemingway. This volume covers his earliest work:

Frank Freeman. University Bookman, 01/03/2021: Hemingway Finds His Voice. Review of: Ernest Hemingway, editor Robert W. Trogdon: Ernest Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises & Other Writings, 1918–1926

Ene 5, 11:41am

Finding elements of toxic masculinity in the Sherlock Holmes persona:

Ashley Morgan. Salon, 01/04/2021: Sherlock Holmes and the case of toxic masculinity: what is behind the detective’s appeal?.

Ene 5, 11:52am

On the bourgee popularity of Leïla Slimani, the Franco-Moroccan author of The Perfect Nanny:

Annabel L. Kim. Public Books, 01/05/2021: Leïla Slimani's Taboos.

Ene 6, 11:43am

Ene 6, 12:01pm

Revisiting a Southern classic, John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces:

Tom Bissell. The New Yorker, 01/05/2021: The Uneasy Afterlife of 'A Confederacy of Dunces.'

Ene 6, 12:06pm

From a work in progress:

Laurence Roth. LARB, 01/06/2021: The Storefront (place).

"... the opening section from chapter three of my book in progress, Unpacking My Father’s Bookstore, a memoir and critical study about growing up in my father’s Jewish bookstore."

Ene 6, 12:19pm

"Much maligned as a mere tactician of power, Machiavelli was in fact a philosopher of the people. His critique of oligarchic domination remains essential today."

Camila Vergara. Boston Review, 01/05/2021: Our Machiavellian Moment. Review of: Patrick Boucheron, translated by Willard Wood: Machiavelli: The Art of Teaching the People What to Fear.

Ene 6, 12:29pm

"If you want to stalk real private investigators and learn their secrets, all you have to do is read, listen, and subscribe."

Kim Green. crimereads.com, 01/06/2021: PI Storytelling Through the Ages: Books, Blogs, and Podcasts by Real Private Eyes.

Ene 6, 3:10pm

TLS Jan 8, 2021, no. 6145:


Lucy Scholes. Tales of hopeless husbands: Forgotten female fictions that were famous in their day. (Essay)

Shomit Dutta. Troys for girls and boys: Bringing younger readers back to Homer. Review of: Stephen Fry: Troy.

In Brief Review of: Natalie Haynes: Pandora's Jar: Women in the Greek myths

Esmé O’ Keeffe. Booking a trip round the world: The highly literary journeys of two Swiss writers. Review of: Nicolas Bouvier, Translated by Robyn Marsack: So It Goes: Travels in the Aran Islands, Xian and places in between and Philippe Jaccottet, Translated by John Taylor: A Calm Fire: And Other Travel Writings.

Eric Ormsby. Fifty twists of the tongue: A remarkable version of a remarkable Arabic classic. Review of: Al-Hariri, Translated by Michael Cooperson: Impostures: Fifty rogue’s tales translated fifty ways.

Paul Scraton. Not all stories are for sharing: Goran Vojnović’s multigenerational Balkan novel of gaps and silences. Review of: Goran Vojnović, Translated by Olivia Hellewell: The Fig Tree. "... a gentle, quiet, emotionally powerful novel concerned with memory, families and the stories we tell each other. Moving back and forth in time and space, it takes us from the 1950s and postwar Yugoslavia to the country’s present-day successor states of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina."

Becca Rothfeld. Artefacts for artefacts’ sake: Robert Perišić’s tale of capital and obsolescence in postwar Yugoslavia. Review of: Robert Perišić, Translated by Ellen Elias-Bursać: No-Signal Area. "Forgotten by policymakers and overlooked by tourists, N might stand for “nowhere”. Its inhabitants are traumatized by memories of the recent ethno-nationalist conflict, and most of them have been out of work since the local turbine factory shut down. ... Even mobile phone coverage in N is unreliable. Forsaken by the forces of neoliberalism and forgotten by the more fortunate denizens of the new world order, it has become a dreaded no-signal area." Could be Ohio, yeah?

Mia Levitin. Better read than Red: Vivian Gornick’s youthful romance with communism. Review of Vivian Gornick: Unfinished Business: Notes of a chronic re-reader -- Approaching Eye Level -- The Romance of American Communism.

Francesca Wade. Wives of the poets: The misfortune of being married to a famous Victorian writer. Review of: Diane Johnson: The True History of the First Mrs. Meredith and Other Lesser Lives.

Chloë Ashby. Girls Against God. "... skips between our narrator’s goth-infused late schooldays, her university years in Oslo and New England, and the hazy present, where, holed up in a witches’ den with two other women, Venke and Terese, she forms a metal band and starts writing a screenplay."

In Brief Reviewof: C.P. Cavafy, Translated with an afterword by Evan Jones: The Barbarians Arrive Today: Poems and Prose.

Arts & Miscellaneous:

Melissa Chan. Memories of resistance: Documenting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Ai Weiwei: Cockroach, Vimeo on Demand.

Paul Griffiths. Miracle and melancholy: The reflections - and silences - of a celebrated pianist. Review of: András Schiff: Music Comes Out of Silence: A Memoir.

In Brief Review of: Rachel Morris: The Museum Makers: A journey backwards from old boxes of dark family secrets to a golden era of museums.

Politics, Society, and a bit of History:

Sanam Maher. Eat, drink and be Murree?: Challenging journalistic clichés about Pakistan. Review of: Declan Walsh: The Nine Lives of Pakistan: Dispatches from a divided nation.

David Armitage. When companies were kings: New perspectives on imperial history. Review of: Andrew Phillips and J. C. Sharman, Outsourcing Empire: How company-states made the modern world -- Sujit Sivasundaram: Waves Across the South: A new history of revolution and empire.

Stefan Collini. Living in the love of the common people: The siren call of ‘the ordinary’ – and its dangers. Marc Stears: Out of the Ordinary: How everyday life inspired a nation and how it can again.

Ann Pettifor. Beggar thy neighbour: How inequality at home leads to conflict abroad. Review of: Matthew C. Klein and Michael Pettis: Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How rising inequality distorts the global economy and threatens international peace.

Robert Irwin. Freelancer, freeloader, free spirit: Bruce Wannell, a wandering scholar ‘born out of his time.’ Review of: Barnaby Rogerson and Rose Baring, editors: Tales from the Life of Bruce Wannell: Adventurer, linguist, orientalist.

In Brief Review of: A Long Stride: The story of the world’s no. 1 Scotch whisky. That is: Johnnie Walker.

In Brief Review of: Elsa Court: The American Roadside in Emigre Literature, Film, and Photography, 1955-1985.

In Brief Review of: Gavin Francis: Island Dreams: Mapping an obsession.

Ene 8, 9:43am

Bob Shacochis. Outside, 01/05/2021: Remembering My Friend Barry Lopez.

Ene 8, 9:47am

Elizabeth A. Harris and Alexandra Alter. NYT, 01/07/2021: Simon & Schuster Cancels Plans for Senator Hawley’s Book

"The publisher faced calls to drop the Missouri Republican’s upcoming book, “The Tyranny of Big Tech,” following criticism of his efforts to overturn the presidential election."

Ene 9, 5:54pm

"Recently translated essay collections underscore how sanitized ethical language has become in the last 60 to 70 years."

Christy Wampole. Public Books, 01/08/2021: Dirty Essays, Clean Essays. Review of: Jean Genet, translated by Charlotte Mandell and Jeffrey Zuckerman: The Criminal Child: Selected Essays and Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Kurt Beals: Not a Novel: A Memoir in Pieces.

Ene 9, 6:16pm

The odd appeal of René Girard to tech billionaires explained:

Justin E.H. Smith. Justin E.H. Smith's Hinterland, 01/03/2021: Who Is René Girard?: And Why Does Silicon Valley Care? I don't know who Justin E.H. Smith is, though.

Ene 9, 6:23pm

An interview with the translator of the Moldovan author Iulian Ciocan:

Ian Blyth, intro & interviewer Alicia Kennedy. Guernica, 01/07/2021: Alistair Ian Blyth: Translating Post-Soviet Moldova. On the occasion of the publication of Iulian Ciocan, translated from the Romanian by Ian Blyth: Before Brezhnev Died.

Editado: Ene 10, 6:08pm

Helen Keller & Internet conspiracy theories. "Despite her record as a writer and activist, what may have begun as a joke has gained traction, and should make us ask questions that go beyond the credulity of Gen Z:"

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett. The Guardian, 01/07/2021: Helen Keller: why is a TikTok conspiracy theory undermining her story?

Reminds me I have to dig up & read: Joseph P. & Trude Lash: Helen And Teacher: The Story Of Helen Keller And Anne Sullivan Macy

Editado: Ene 10, 2:20pm

"We know the Roman conquest of Masada only through the account of the enigmatic Jewish historian Josephus, whose shifting allegiances make his motives hard to discern."

James Romm. NYRB, 01/14/2021: What Happened at Masada?" Review of: Steven Mason: A History of the Jewish War, AD 66–74 and Jodi Magness: Masada: From Jewish Revolt to Modern Myth..

Ene 10, 6:07pm

Ved Mehta, New Yorker writer, memoirist, and travel writer, a master of visual description who was blind, 1934-2021:

Margalit Fox. NYT, 01/10/2021: Ved Mehta, Celebrated Writer for The New Yorker, Dies at 86.

Ene 11, 11:45am

On Nikolai Leskov, author of the great Russian novella, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk:

Yelena Furman. Baffler, 01/11/2021: So the Story Goes. Review of: Nikolai Leskov, translators Donald Rayfield, Robert Chandler, & William Edgerton: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Selected Stories of Nikolai Leskov/

Ene 11, 12:27pm

"... I received a cherished Christmas present from my daughters: a rare first edition (and there is, to date, no second one) of “A Cage for Lovers,” the novel, from 1957, by Dawn Powell, which exemplifies the misdirection and vagaries of artistic reputation."

Richard Brody. New Yorker, 01/08/2021: An Out-of-Print Dawn Powell Reveals Her Misunderstood Art.

Ene 11, 12:41pm

"There is no calculus required; this is not Physics 101. Instead, Wilczek talks about modern physics and cosmology from a more broad-brush and philosophical perspective, often linking their findings to the real world — how they affect us."

Marcia Batusiak. WaPo, 01/07/2021: A theoretical physicist gets down to the basics. Review of: Frank Wilczek: Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality.

From the same review: "During the seemingly endless hours of coronavirus isolation, many are pursuing new educational experiences — trying out a musical instrument or finally picking up that brush to learn the art of painting. For those with more scientific yearnings, and who regret not taking a few courses in college to learn about the physical world, theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek offers a way to catch up." And on that topic:

Margaret Talbot. New Yorker, 01/11/2021: Is It Really Too Late to Learn New Skills?. Review of: Tom Vanderbilt: Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning.

Ene 11, 12:47pm

Guys vs. Nature -- recent books reviewed in the New York Times:

Rachel Slade. NYT, 01/08/2021: ‘Icebound’ Takes Us Back to the Arctic, in All Its Terror and Splendor. Review of: Andrea Pitzer: Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World.

Jeffrey Gettleman. NYT, 01/05/2021: Climbing the Himalaya With Soldiers, Spies, Lamas and Mountaineers. Review of: Ed Douglas: Himalaya: A Human History.

Ene 14, 10:05am

"F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby about America and aspiration is now in the public domain, so new editions, as well as a graphic novel and a zombie adaptation, have gotten the green light."

John Williams. 01/14/2021: The ‘Great Gatsby’ Glut.

Editado: Ene 14, 12:19pm

Charlie Tyson. Public Books, 01/14/2021: Stop Reading Like a Critics. Please? Review of: Rita Felski: Hooked: Art and Attachment and Andrew H. Miller: On Not Being Someone Else: Tales of Our Unled Lives.

Ene 14, 12:30pm

"In Praise of Literary Promiscuity in the Digital Age:"

Will Self. LitHub, 01/14/2021: Will Self: How Should We Read?

Ene 14, 12:34pm

"Jamie Harrison on the Relationship Between Eating, Love, and Memory:"

Jamie Harrison. 01/14/2021: The Importance of Getting Food Right in Fiction.

Ene 14, 12:43pm

Regarding the New Yorker review of Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning noted in >34 featherbear:, here's an excerpt:

Tom Vanderbilt. The Guardian, 01/07/2021: The joys of being an absolute beginner – for life.

Ene 15, 2:45pm

"Amazon.com and the “Big Five” publishers – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster – have been accused of colluding to fix ebook prices, in a class action filed by the law firm that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five on the same charge 10 years ago."

Sian Cain. The Guardian, 01/15/2021: Amazon.com and 'Big Five' publishers accused of ebook price-fixing.

Ene 15, 4:07pm

TLS, Jan. 15.2021, no. 6146:


Pamela Clemit. Missing in inaction: The inscrutable, alluring, complex William Wordsworth. Review of: Stephen Gill: William Wordsworth: A Life (2nd ed.) -- Jonathan Bate: Radical Wordsworth: The Poet Who Changed the World -- Andrew Wordsworth: Well-Kept Secrets: The Story of William Wordsworth -- Lucy Newlyn: Vital Stream.

Zachary Leader. Epiphanies and kidneys: The origins and preoccupations of the Joyce Industry. Review of: Catherine Flynn: James Joyce and the Matter of Paris -- Michael Mayo: James Joyce and the Jesuits -- Sangam MacDuff: Panepiphanal World: James Joyce's Epiphanies.

Riccardo Cepach. Places to go, places to stay: The uncomfortable questions of migration and movement. Review of: Nanjala NyabolaL Travelling While Black: Essays inspired by a life on the move.

Dinah Birch. Predicting the next mistake: Passion and its consequences in the tales of Shirley Hazzard. Review of: Shirley Hazzard edited by Brigitta Olubas: Collected Stories.

Peter Frederick Matthews. Parallel worlds: Losses and gains from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Review of: Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Kurt Beals: Not a Novel: Collected writings and reflections

In Brief Review of Alice Kelly: Commemorative Modernisms: Women writers, death and the First World War.


Madeleine Brettingham. Poison in jest: Offence and free speech on the comedy circuit. Review of: Andrew Hankinson: Don't Applaud. Either Laugh or Don't (The Comedy Cellar)

Erik Morse. A candy-coloured paradise: Florida’s fantasies and nightmares. Review of: Some Kind of Heaven (streaming film, by Lance Oppenheim).


Jane O’ Grady. Not thinking but feeling: What the Enlightenment really meant, and how it undid itself. Review of: Ritchie Robertson: The Enlightenment: The pursuit of happiness 1680–1790.

Ian Ground. Pet theories: How we can lighten our load by learning from our cats. Review of: John Gray: Feline Philosophy: Cats and the Meaning of Life.

History & Social Sciences:

Megan Marz. Born and razed: Remembering a lost community. Vivian Gibson: The Last Children of Mill Creek.

Rebecca L. Spang. Forever blowing: The truth about booms, busts and bubbles. Review of: William Quinn and John D. Turner: Boom and Bust: A global history of financial bubbles and Thomas Levenson: Money for Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the invention of modern capitalism (U.S. subtitle differs).

Jennie Erin Smith. Prices of protest: The killing of environmental activists in Honduras. Review of: Nina Lakhani: Who Killed Berta Cáceres?: Dams, death squads and an indigenous defender’s battle for the planet.

Scott Sherman. . Shooting the messengers: The dangerous world of Mexican journalism. Review of: Témoris Grecko: Killing the Story: Journalists risking their lives to uncover the truth in Mexico.

In Brief Review of: Matt Colquhoun: Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy, and Mark Fisher. "It was easier to anticipate the end of the world, Fisher believed, than the end of the free-market orthodoxy; there was a widespread sense, he argued, “that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it”. Fisher explored what this meant for art, politics and mental health by inviting readers to wonder what futures had been lost to the pressures of capital."

In Brief Reviews on Sci-Tech:

In Brief Review of: John Lewis-Stempel: The Wild Life of the Fox.

In Brief Review of: Rana el Kaliouby: Girl Decoded.

Ene 15, 4:20pm

A tour of the world-famous cemetery:

Jill Schary Robinson. LARB, 01/15/2021: A Galaxy of Monuments. Review of: Carolyn Campbell: City of Immortals: Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

Ene 15, 4:37pm

Three books on journalism in Latin America & the U.S.:

Rebecca Janzen. Public Books, 01/15/2021: What Can Latin American Journalism Teach the U.S.?. Review of: Pablo Calvi: Latin American Adventures in Literary Journalism -- Gabriela Polit Dueñas: Unwanted Witnesses: Journalists and Conflict in Contemporary Latin America -- Daniel Worden: Neoliberal Nonfictions: The Documentary Aesthetic from Joan Didion to Jay-Z. Focus on individuals is a tool of neo-liberalism?

Ene 15, 9:31pm

The author of In the Dream House: A Memoir on Patricia Highsmith:

Carmen Maria Machado. The Guardian, 01/09/2021: Twisted brilliance: Patricia Highsmith at 100.

Ene 18, 12:51pm

"An account of covert coups and diplomatic bluster through the decades reveals a country in paranoid fear of decline."

Peter Conrad. The Guardian, 01/18/2021: Grisly history of a bully-boy nation. Review of Michael Pembroke: America in Retreat: The Decline of US Leadership from WW2 to Covid-19.

Ene 18, 1:01pm

"Talking to Hannah Arendt's new biographer about propaganda, evil, forgiveness, hope, and loving the world enough to believe that it can change."

Anand Giridharadas. 01/12/2021: Love the world anyway.

Ene 18, 1:06pm

"In a new book, Alicia Garza writes, 'We can’t be afraid to establish a base that is larger than the people we feel comfortable with.'"

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. The New Yorker, 01/18/2021: A Black Lives Matter Founder On Building Modern Movements. Review of: Alicia Garza: The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart.

Ene 18, 1:28pm

"For Schlick and others, the role of language in a theory of radical empiricism adheres more closely to a correspondence model of truth. In Rorty’s Darwinian conception of how we talk about things in the world, the contingency of language adheres more closely to a coherence model of truth. In neither case, however, is the notion of objective reality taken to be absurd. Truth may not be teleological, but it is not arbitrary, if only because “only a creature that acts is capable of knowing.” Action, then, depends on an objective reality with which one interacts more or less usefully—that is to say, truthfully."

Jonathan Church. Areo, 01/13/2021: Pragmatism, Empiricism and the Meaning of Truth.

Ene 18, 1:49pm

On the new biography of Malcolm X:

Peniel E. Joseph. LARB, 01/18/2021: Harlem’s Hero Revisited. Review of: Les Payne & Tamara Payne: The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X.

Ene 18, 2:07pm

"This essay is the third in a series on citizenship, part of the University of Michigan’s Democracy and Debate Theme Semester for fall 2020."

Edna Bonhomme. Public Books, 01/18/2021: When Black Humanity Is Denied. Review of: Zakiyyah Iman Jackson: Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World -- Therí Alyce Pickens: Black Madness :: Mad Blackness -- Nicole R. Fleetwood: Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration.

Ene 18, 2:12pm

"Olga Grushin, author of "The Charmed Wife," recommends children’s stories that aren’t just for kids."

Electric Literature, 01/15/2021: Offbeat European Children’s Books For Adults.

Ene 18, 2:23pm

The Netflix hit Bridgerton is based on the romance novel The Duke and I by Julia Quinn. Why is it that "The British Regency era lasted less than a decade, but it spawned a staggering number of unlikely fictional marriages"?

Jess Romeo (I kid you not). JSTOR Daily, 01/18/2021: Why Are So Many Romances Set in the Regency Period?.

Ene 21, 2:02pm

TLS this week, Jan. 23, 2021, no. 6147:


Clifford Thompson. Fear in the gut, change in the air: A fictionalized meeting of real Black celebrities. Review of the streaming film: One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime)

En Liang Khong. Art as a one-stop shop: Private vaults, frictionless travel, superstars: an insider’s account of an international market. Review of: Matthew Israel: A Year in the Art World: An Insider's View.

Norma Clarke. From white gold to white elephant: The rise and fall of porcelain. Review of: Anne Gerritsen: The City of Blue and White: Chinese porcelain and the early modern world and Suzanne L. Marchand: Porcelain: A history from the heart of Europe.


Alex Clark. A singular traveller: Patricia Highsmith at 100. (Essay)

Stanley Wells. Bard for life: Shakespeare’s relevance today, both public and private. Review of: Shakespearean: On life and language in times of disruption and Sally Bayley: No Boys Play Here: A story of Shakespeare and my family’s missing men.

Thea Hawlin. Everyone’s a critic: The indispensable quality of amateurism. Review of: Saikat Majumdar and Aarthi Vadde, editors: The Critic as Amateur.

Min Wild. Gravity and waggery: The playful biography of a literary cat. Review of: Jeoffry, the Poet's Cat: A biography. On the subject of mad poet Christopher Smart's pet.

Arin Keeble. Aspiration nation: Mobility, inequality and nationalism clash in Modi’s India. Review of: Megha Majumdar: A Burning. Listed on LT as: The Burning.

Tiphanie Yanique. Girl, wife, lover: A tale of growing self-acceptance – and subverted expectations. Review of: Raven Leilani: Luster.

Tash Aw. Identity crisis: A romance that doubles as a quest for parental love. Review of: Bryan Washington: Memorial.

Claire-Louise Bennett. Curiosity without limit: Ann Quin’s rejuvenating, kaleidoscopic Passages. (Essay)

In Brief Revew of: Rupert Everett: To the End of the World: Travels with Oscar Wilde.

In Brief Review of: Christina Rossetti, editor Rachel Mann: New Selected Poems.

In Brief Review of: Arturo Tosi: Language and the Grand Tour: Linguistic experiences of travelling in early modern Europe.

Politics & Society:

Charlotte Shane. With deepest himpathy: Why male privilege is less significant than male power. Kate Manne: Entitled: How male privilege hurts women.

Anne Nelson. Jesus is just all Right?: How Christian fundamentalists took over the Republican Party. (Essay)

Clare Saxby. From clay pipes to plastic fish: Our relationship with objects, as revealed by our detritus. Lisa Woollett: Rag and Bone: A family history of what we’ve thrown away.

Oliver Balch. Lifeline and coffin: A cultural history of Colombia’s principal river. Review of: Wade Davis: Magdalena: River of Dreams.


David Reynolds. Victims and villains: How the Soviet Union sought to hold the Nazis to account. Review of: Francine Hirsch: Soviet Judgment at Nuremberg: A new history of the International Military Tribunal after World War II.

John Flower. The sorrow and the pity: The complexities of resistance and collaboration in Vichy France. Review of: Alya Aglan: La France à l'envers: La guerre de Vichy (1940–1945).

John Rogister. The fourth, French, age of perfection: Voltaire’s ambitious, idiosyncratic history of Louis XIV’s reign. Review of: Voltaire: Siècle de Louis XIV.

Editado: Ene 21, 2:56pm

Some Amanda Gorman articles, poet laureate & 2021 inaugural poet:

Alex Hawgood. NYT, 11/03/2017: Meet Amanda Gorman, America’s First Youth Poet Laureate. (Note that this was 4 years ago)

Dwight Garner. NYT, 01/21/2021: At the Inauguration, Amanda Gorman Wove History and the Future Into a Stirring Melody.

Alexandra Alter. NYT, 01/19/2021 updated 01/20/2021: Amanda Gorman Captures the Moment, in Verse. "The youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history read “The Hill We Climb,” which she finished after the riot at the Capitol. “I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen,” she says."

Amy B. Wang & Stephanie Merry. WaPo, 01/20/2021: Amanda Gorman reads poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ at Biden inauguration.

Adam Gabbatt. The Guardian, 01/20/2021: ‘An inspiration to us all’: Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem stirs hope and awe. "Amanda Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in US history, delivered a poem that recalled the Capitol riots and looked to the future."

Kenya Evelyn. The Guardian, 01/21/2021: Amanda Gorman books top bestselling lists after soul-stirring inaugural poem. "Two upcoming books on Amazon’s bestseller list within hours after the resounding delivery of her poem at the swearing-in."

Twitter summary from Buzzfeed:

Clarissa-Jan Lim. Buzzfeed News, 01/20/2021: Amanda Gorman Won Everyone Over With Her Powerful Poem At Biden's Inauguration.

And the poem itself:

Amber Jamieson. Buzzfeed News, 01/20/2021: Here's The Whole Poem 22-Year-Old Amanda Gorman Read At Biden's Inauguration.

Ene 22, 10:58am

"His speculative fiction was built on Black heroes and African themes. He died alone and unrecognized, but friends are trying to make amends."

Neil Genzlinger. NYT, 01/21/2021: A Black Literary Trailblazer’s Solitary Death: Charles Saunders, 73.

Ene 22, 11:09am

"2020 MARKS THE 100th anniversary of the birth of Paul Celan, and the 50th anniversary of his death. This year also commemorates a half-century of Celan translations by poet, essayist, and anthologist Pierre Joris."

Pierre Joris, interviewed by David Brazil. LARB, 01/20/2021: Under the Language: A Conversation with Pierre Joris on Paul Celan.

Ene 22, 2:14pm

"The poetry canon is dotted with mistakes large and small; why do some critics seem attached to reading these errors as intentional?"

Evan Kindley. NYRB, 02/11/2021: To Err is Poetic. Review of: Erica McAlpine: The Poet's Mistake.

Ene 25, 9:04am

Revisiting Edith Wharton, focusing on her The Custom of the Country:

Claire Messud. NYT, 01/20/2021: How Can We Read Edith Wharton Today?.

Ene 25, 4:09pm

Of interest primarily because of the reviewer's humblebrag:

Robert Gottlieb. NYT, 01/23/2020: Harold Bloom Is Dead. But His ‘Rage for Reading’ Is Undiminished.

"What’s more, since he was only a year older than me, our early reading followed essentially the same hectic arc. It can’t be mere coincidence that the two books Bloom considers to be the “most eminent of all novels” — Samuel Richardson’s 2,000-page epistolary “Clarissa” and Proust’s seven-volume “In Search of Lost Time” — are works I have been making my way through again this past year (along with “The Tale of Genji,” “Tom Jones,” “Lolita” and “Martin Chuzzlewit”). If you suffer from what Bloom calls “the rage for reading and rereading,” you’re on a never-pausing treadmill — no sooner have you consumed, yet again, “War and Peace” and “Middlemarch” and “The Charterhouse of Parma” and all of Jane Austen but it’s time to return to them once more: to have one final go before (as the ever-morbid Bloom reminds us) it’s too late."

Ene 25, 8:00pm

Review of Harold McGee's new book examining odors scientifically:

Rachel Syme. 01/25/2021: How to Make Sense of Scents. Review of: Harold McGee: Nose Dive: A Field Guide to the World’s Smells.

His earlier book on the science of cookery is a classic: On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen.

Ene 27, 5:56pm

Retrospect of reviews written by well-known authors from the New York Times Book Review:

Tina Jordan, Noor Qasim and John Williams. NYT, 01/25/2021: 25 Great Writers and Thinkers Weigh In on Books That Matter.

Ene 28, 5:55pm

TLS, Jan. 29, 2021, No. 6148:


David Gallagher. Meetings with the master: Mario Vargas Llosa’s encounters with Jorge Luis Borges. Review of: Mario Vargas Llosa: Medio siglo con Borges (Half a Century with Borges) and Jay Parini: Borges and Me: An Encounter.

Kate Cooper. Late to the Late Roman party: Celebrating an era characterized by invention – and masterly reinvention. Review of: Simon Goldhill: Preposterous Poetics: The politics and aesthetics of form in late antiquity.

Lucy Fleming. Up to his old tricks: Sly foxes, big bad wolves and other animals. Review of: Anne Louise Avery: Reynard the Fox and V. S. Vernon Jones et al, translators: Aesop's Fables.

History & Politics:

David Coward. From salon to cellar: A ‘quietly shocking’ account of wartime collaboration in Paris. Review of: Christopher Othon: The King of Nazi Paris: Henri Lafont and the gangsters of the French Gestapo.

Jane Yager. Silencing the Red Orchestra: Restoring a group to their rightful place in the memory of resistance. Review of: Norman Ohler, translated by Tim Mohr and Marshall Yarbrough: The Infiltrators: The lovers who led Germany’s resistance against the Nazis.

Ian Thomson. Gangster state: Laying bare Mussolini’s murderous regime. Carlo Spartaco Capogreco, translated by Norma Bouchard and Valerio Ferme: Mussolini's Camps: Civilian internment in Fascist Italy (1940–1943).

Niall Ferguson. No more narcissism: How history can be applied to US foreign policy. Review of: Robert B. Zoellick: America in the World: A history of US diplomacy and foreign policy and H. R. McMaster: Battlegrounds: The fight to defend the free world.

Patrick Wilcken. Progress, ruin and pride: Assessing the legacy of Latin America’s strongmen. Review of: Will Grant: ¡Populista!: The rise of Latin America’s 21st-century strongman.

David Baddiel. Left out: On the insidious, pervasive, exclusionary nature of ‘progressive’ antisemitism. (Essay)


Gurharpal Singh. No Hindu, no Muslim: Guru Nanak, the Sikh founder. Review of: Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh: The First Sikh: The life and legacy of Guru Nanak.

Science and Technology:

Brian Morton. On both sides of the bars: The Cold War rivalry between Berlin’s two zoos. Review of: J. W. Mohnhaupt, translated by Shelley Frisch: The Zookeepers' War: An incredible true story from the Cold War.

Druin Burch. Mobilizing medicine: Missed opportunities – and genuine successes – in the UK’s vaccination programme. (Essay)

Michele Pridmore-Brown. Snowflake for the sensitives: Environmental illness, and what its sufferers can tell us. Oliver Broudy: The Sensitives: The rise of environmental illness and the search for America’s last pure place.

Editado: Feb 3, 10:21am

"Harry Potter fans are faced with trying to separate art from artist after a live-action series is rumored."

Ashlie D. Stevens. Salon, 01/28/2021: "Harry Potter" & the problematic creator – What's left for a fandom raised on false tolerance?

Another example:

Aja Romano. Vox, 02/02/2021: Can more Harry Potter ever be okay?.

Ene 29, 10:50am

Michael Dirda surveys recent books about books:

Michael Dirda. WaPo, 01/27/2021: When I find fiction too draining, I turn to books about books. They can be as thrilling as a whodunit.

Ene 29, 10:54am

A deep dive into the work of critic & poet Clive James:

Ian Shircore. Quadrant, 01/17/2021: The Enduring Prose and Poetry of Clive James.

Ene 29, 11:14am

The translation of Tove Ditlevsen's Copenhagen Trilogy is now complete:

Constance Grady. Vox, 01/29/2021: This notorious poet is required reading in Denmark. Her masterpiece is now out in the US. Review of: Tove Ditlevsen: Childhood -- Youth -- Dependency.

Feb 2, 5:17pm

"In the world of classics, the exchange between Dan-el Padilla Peralta and Mary Frances Williams has become known simply as “the incident.” Their back-and-forth took place at a Society of Classical Studies conference in January 2019 — the sort of academic gathering at which nothing tends to happen that would seem controversial or even interesting to those outside the discipline."

Rachel Poser. NYT Magazine, 02/02/2021: He Wants to Save Classics From Whiteness. Can the Field Survive?.

Feb 3, 10:16am

New book on Walter Benjamin:

Ian Balfour. LARB, 02/03/2021: Totally: Fredric Jameson on Walter Benjamin. Review of: Fredric Jameson: The Benjamin Files.

Editado: Feb 5, 4:30pm

TLS, Feb. 5, 2021, no. 6149:


Christopher Shrimpton. Hard not to be a criminal: Reviving Barbara Comyns. Review of Barbara Comyns republished novels: Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead -- Mr. Fox -- House of Dolls.

Avril Horner. The legend and the crazy novelist: Graham Greene’s role in Barbara Comyns’s writing career. (Essay)

Angelique Richardson. Reason and reverence: Faith and science in the nineteenth-century novel. Review of: Amy King: The Divine in the Commonplace: Reverent natural history and the novel in Britain and Ian Duncan: Human Forms: The Novel in the Age of Evolution.

Bryan Karetnyk. Different duties: The clash between Christian love and patriotism in a time of war. Review of: Shūsaku Endō, translator Van C. Gessel: Sachiko. Endo is the author of Silence, the historical novel of Christianity in Japan, recently made into a movie by Martin Scorsese.

Natasha Randall. Flesh and remembering: The experience of revisiting an assault. Review of: Ellena Savage: Blueberries: Essays Concerning Understanding.

Megan Marz. The new mental weather: Literary approaches to digital division. Review of: Patricia Lockwood: No One is Talking About This -- Lauren Oyler: Fake Accounts.

Tadzio Koelb. Cogs and buttons: A novel of postwar Germany failing to confront its recent past. Review of: Irmgard Keun, translator Michael Hofmann: Ferdinand: The Man with a Kind Heart.

Ruth Scurr. Driven to distraction: Literary achievement amid a ‘merry-go-round love life’. Review of: Selina Hastings: Sybille Bedford: An Appetite for Life.

Rona Cran. Hilarious and strange: Putting the work of Dennis Cooper in its colourful context. Review of: Diarmuid Hester: Wrong: A critical biography of Dennis Cooper.

In Brief Review of: Annette R. Federico, editor: My Victorian Novel: Critical essays in the personal voice.


Rowan Williams. Where church and state unite: Tracing the legacy of Byzantine-Eastern Christianity. Review of: John Anthony McGuckin: The Eastern Orthodox Church: A New History.


En Liang Khong. Unreal cities: Urban architecture in video games and anime films. Review of: Konstantinos Dimopoulos: Virtual Cities: An atlas and exploration of video game cities and Stefan Riekeles: Anime Architecture: Imagined worlds and endless megacities.


Crispin Sartwell. Kill or cure: How philosophy wrote its own obituary, but then bounced back. (Essay)

David Papineau. What is it like to be a shrimp?: More tales from the scuba-diving philosopher. Review of: Peter Godfrey-Smith: Metazoa: Animal minds and the birth of consciousness.

Becca Rothfeld. Agent non provocateur: How Žižek was tamed by Covid-19. Review of: Slavoj Žižek: Pandemic!: COVID-19 shakes the world.

Politics & Society:

Jessie Munton. The mother as myth: Challenging the values that surround pregnancy in the US. Review of: Lyz Lenz: Belabored: A vindication of the rights of pregnant women.

Benjamin Nathans. Time to try the impossible: Fighting words in the USSR and Putin’s Russia. Review of: Josephine von Zitzewitz: The Culture of Samizdat: Literature and underground networks in the late Soviet Union and Eliot Borenstein: Pussy Riot: Speaking punk to power.

Chris Mullin. Maxwell’s house of cards: The decline and fall of a newspaper titan. Review of: John Preston: Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell.

In Brief Review of: Julius Margolin, translated by Stefani Hoffman: Journey Into the Land of the Zeks and Back: A Memoir of the Gulag

Feb 5, 4:18pm

Biographies of two famous poets:

David Mason. Hudson Review, winter 2021: The Perils of Fame: Sylvia Plath and Seamus Heaney. Review of: Heather Clark: Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath and R.F. Foster: On Seamus Heaney.

Feb 5, 4:24pm

Publishing a sex-offender poet in an issue of a key poetry periodical:

Alison Flood. The Guardian, 02/03/2021: US magazine Poetry faces outcry for publishing work by sex offender.

Editado: Feb 5, 4:37pm

Two science writers featured in the New York Times back pages:

Michael Sims. NYT, 02/05/2021: Darwin’s Dim View of the Second Sex.

Elizabeth Kolbert interview, NYT Book Review, 02/04/2021: Please Don’t Ask Elizabeth Kolbert How She Organizes Her Books. Interesting paragraph on recent popular science books written by scientists.

Feb 5, 4:47pm

Taking a look at an essay/review about a new publication on environmental ethics by a protégé of Derek Parfit. (Paywall on this one)

Jim Holt. NYRB, 02/25/2021: The Power of Catastrophic Thinking. "Should we value human lives in the distant future as much as present ones?" Review of forthcoming (March): Toby Ord: The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity.

Feb 5, 4:49pm

On Hilary Mantel's trilogy, and why the last one is too long:

Matthew Hart. Public Books, 02/03/2021: Letting Go of Thomas Cromwell.

Feb 5, 4:53pm

Healthy reading:

Lauren Vinopal. MEL, 02/04/2021: Does Reading Help You Poop?

Feb 5, 4:59pm

Interview with George Saunders, focusing on short stories:

George Saunders, interviewed by Sean Hooks. LARB, 02/05/2021: Hunting Down Repositories: A Conversation with George Saunders.

Editado: Feb 6, 10:43am

Learn about hieroglyphics:

Diane Greco Josefowicz, interviewer Sophie Roell. fivebooks.com, 01/2021?: The best books on Hieroglyphics.

Diane Greco Josefowicz is co-author, with Jed Z. Buchwald, of The Riddle of the Rosetta: How an English Polymath and a French Polyglot Discovered the Meaning of Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

Feb 6, 10:40am

Learn about migrant workers in the U.S.:

Mireya Loza, interviewer Eve Gerber: The best books on Migrant Workers.

Feb 8, 1:25pm

"JSTOR has created an open library to support readers seeking to engage with BIPOC+Q-authored reading lists like the one developed by the New York Public Library."

Brian Jones. 02/05/2021: JSTOR Companion to the Schomburg Center’s Black Liberation Reading List.

Feb 10, 12:23pm

A poet on the writing of obituaries:

Malia Wollan. NYT Magazine, 02/02/2021: How to Write an Obituary.

Editado: Feb 15, 9:52am

TLS, Feb. 12, 2021. No. 6150:


Cal Revely-Calder. Curates, cretins, critics: Saving Beckett from Beckett Studies. Review of: Dirk van Hulle and Shane Weller, editors: The Making of Samuel Beckett's Fin de Partie/Endgame: The Beckett Digital Manuscript Project -- Jean-Michel Rabaté, editor: The New Samuel Beckett Studies -- Emilie Morin: Beckett's Political Imagination -- Conor Carville: Samuel Beckett and the Visual Arts.

Alison Shell. Suspension of belief: How atheism was treated in the early novel. Review of: James Bryant Reeves: Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A literary history of atheism.

Julia Vaingurt: Staying on the steamship: How Pushkin got a modern makeover. Review of: James Rann: The Unlikely Futurist: Pushkin and the invention of originality in Russian Modernism.

Justin Quinn. So long the sensuous visions: Derek Mahon’s last collection. Review of: Derek Mahon: Washing Up.

Bryan Karetnyk. Twenty-sixth-century blues: Restoring the jagged boldness of a totalitarian dystopia. Review of: Yevgeny Zamyatin, translation Bela Shayevich: We.

Simon Goldhill. Glimpsed through the gaps: Gathering the fragments of two great poets. Review of: Hans Bernsdorff, editor: Anacreon of Teos: Testimonia and fragments and David Sider, editor: Simonides: Epigrams and Elegies.

D.J. Taylor. They don’t make them like that any more: Genres that have fallen out of fashion. (Essay)

In Brief Review of: Alasdair Gray: Paradise: Dante’s Divine Trilogy Part Three: Englished in prosaic verse.

In Brief Review of: Mary Morris, editor, with Larry O'Connor: The Virago Book of Women Travellers.

In Brief Review of: Elsa Högberg: Virginia Woolf and the Ethics of Intimacy.


Michael Kulikowski. The new Rome’s window on the West: Ravenna, a mosaic of peoples and cultures. Review of: Judith Herrin: Ravenna: Capital of Empire, crucible of Europe.

Audrey Borowski: Vanishing act: How snobbery and fashion put paid to magic. Review of: Michael Hunter: The Decline of Magic: Britain in the Enlightenment.

Ruth Scurr: Men behaving sadly: The Masonic cult of death. Review of: John Dickie: The Craft: How the Freemasons made the modern world.

Jeffrey Collins: Sovereign virtues: Machiavelli’s betrayal of Renaissance humanism. Review of: James Hankins: Virtue Politics: Soulcraft and statecraft in Renaissance Italy.

Sukhdev Sandhu. Empire of the mind: What imperialism means to a modern Briton. Review of: Sathnam Sanghera: Empireland: How imperialism has shaped modern Britain.

Tristram Hunt. Dirty British coaster: Steam power, free trade and colonial self-interest. Review of: John Darwin: Unlocking the World: Port cities and globalization in the age of steam 1830–1930.

In Brief Review of: Rafiq Husseini, editor: Exiled from Jerusalem: The diaries of Hussein Fakhri al-Khalidi.

Politics and Society:

N. J. Stallard. Bad goods: Lifting the curtain on a cosmos of cheapness. Review of: Wendy A. Woloson: Crap: A history of cheap stuff in America.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Beyond terror and textbooks: Can the West counter Saudi Arabia’s promotion of extremism? Review of: Krithika Varagur: The Call: Inside the global Saudi religious project.

Barnaby Crowcroft. Oiling the wheels: What drives America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Review of: Victor McFarland: Oil Powers: A history of the U.S.–Saudi alliance.

Ulinka Rublack. Material changes: The ‘vile’ and ‘wonderful’ afterlives of wool. Review of: Hanna Rose Shell: Shoddy: From Devil’s dust to the renaissance of rags.

In Brief Review of: Caroline Eden: Red Sands: Reportage and recipes through Central Asia from hinterland to heartland.

Religion & Philosophy:

Alexandra Walsham. From Jesus to Lord Voldemort: Why modernity led to secularization. Review of: Ethan H. Shagan: The Birth of Modern Belief: Faith and judgment from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment and Alec Ryrie: Unbelievers: An emotional history of doubt.

Michael Press. Confirmed as a bachelor: The true story of a hoax gospel. Review of: Ariel Sabar: Veritas: A Harvard professor, a con man and the gospel of Jesus’s wife.

In Brief Review of: Anthony O'Hear: Transcendence, Creation and Incarnation: From philosophy to religion.

Feb 11, 2:35pm

"the guidance of expertise":

Ed Simon. The Millions, 02/11/2021: Annotate This: On Footnotes.

Feb 13, 12:27pm

After three decades of reviewing crime fiction for the New York Times, Marilyn Stasio has retired. Meet her successor:

crimereads.com, 02/12/2021: Sarah Weinman to Take Over Marilyn Stasio's Crime Column.

Feb 13, 12:31pm

Cholera and contagion in George Eliot's Middlemarch:

Diane Rose Newby. LitHub, 02/12/2021: The Hidden Narrative in Middlemarch That 2021 Readers Will Spot.

Feb 13, 12:36pm

Regarding Amy Tan's books, "Why do so many Asian American writers (particularly East Asian American writers) distance themselves from her work?"

Simon Han. LitHub, 02/12/2021: Shortcuts to Identity: How We Tell Asian American Stories.

Feb 13, 12:40pm

Neil Gaiman discusses Kathy Acker in the reissue of her Pussy, King of the Pirates:

Neil Gaiman. LitHub, 02/12/2021: Neil Gaiman on the Great Kathy Acker.

Feb 13, 12:50pm

On mainstream science and the fringes:

Suman Seth. LARB, 02/12/2021: Why “Trusting the Science” Is Complicated. Review of: Michael D. Gordin: On the Fringe: Where Science Meets Pseudoscience. Forthcoming, publication scheduled for 4/19/2021.

Feb 13, 12:57pm

Alex Ross considers an episode in the new biography of Heinrich Heine: George Prochnik: Heinrich Heine: Writing the Revolution.

Alex Ross. The New Yorker, 02/05/2021: The Great Gay-Jewish Poetry Brawl of 1829.

Feb 13, 3:05pm

A review of Anne Applebaum's new book:

Jonathan D. Teubner. Hedgehog Review, Fall 2020: Another Betrayal of the Intellectuals. Review of: Anne Applebaum: Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism.

Editado: Feb 13, 3:13pm

"The climate crisis according to The New Yorker:"

Jake Bittle. Baffler, 02/03/2021: Annals of Annihilation. Review of: David Remnick and Henry Finder, editors: The Fragile Earth: Writing from The New Yorker on Climate Change.

Feb 13, 3:18pm

Maël Renouard: “the literature of introspection, whether autobiography or psychological novel, ought now to mention the name Google every sentence or two.”

Megan Marz. Baffler, 02/04/2021: Head in the Cloud. Review of: Maël Renouard: Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet.

Feb 15, 9:46am

Tolstoy's women:

Jianan Qian. The Millions, 02/15/2021: What Is Wrong with Natasha?: On the Female “Type” in Tolstoian Tales.

Editado: Feb 19, 12:16pm

A Georgetown law professor goes through police training:

Isaac Chotiner. New Yorker, 02/13/2021: The Law Professor Who Trained with the D.C. Police. Review of: Rosa Brooks: Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City. Also of interest: her How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything.

Plus an excerpt from Brooks' book:

Rosa Brooks. Washington Monthly, 02/18/2021: What I Didn’t Learn at Police Academy.

Editado: Feb 16, 4:38pm

Regarding >70 featherbear: above:

Johanna Hanink. Chronicle of Higher Education, 02/11/2021: If Classics Doesn’t Change, Let It Burn. "The field as is doesn’t deserve to persist. But scholars are hard at work improving it."

Kind of related, from the same source:

Sumana Roy. Chronicle of Higher Education, 02/10/2021: The Problem With the Postcolonial Syllabus: Against a peculiarly Western allergy to the pleasure of the text.

Feb 16, 4:34pm

Jane Austen, job-hunting academics, and questions they ask you at the job interview:

Erin A. Spampinato. The Rambling, 02/13/2021: Love Under These Conditions.

Feb 17, 10:29am

A link to the disrupt texts site:


Feb 17, 10:33am

Historians with PTSD:

James Robins. New Republic, 02/16/2021: Can Historians Be Traumatized by History?.

Feb 17, 10:41am

This is kind of a cheat, since a number of these titles are novellas, but still a good way to discover some overlooked fiction:

Emily Temple. LitHub, 02/17/2021: 50 Great Classic Novels Under 200 Pages.

Editado: Feb 17, 1:40pm

Rather enjoy the National Enquirer-type headline:

bbc news.com, 02/16/2021: Fake Amazon reviews 'being sold in bulk' online.

Feb 17, 2:56pm

TLS, Feb. 19, 2021, no. 6151:


Jonathan Bate. Cherchez la femme: John Keats and Mrs Jones. (Essay)

Judith Chernaik. Drop of blood, pinch of salt: Charles Brown’s Life of Keats – a vision or a waking dream?. (Essay)

Peter Hainsworth. Love, reason and the divine: Dante’s poetic worlds, 700 years after his death. Review of: John Took: Dante -- Enrico Malato: Nuovi studi su Dante: ‘Lecturae Dantis’, note e chiose dantesche -- Enrico Malato: Introduzione a 'La divina commedia'.

Muriel Zagha. A bell in the background: How Dante remains relevant to us. (Essay)

Carmine Di Biase. Through the fog and dust: T. S. Eliot and Eugenio Montale’s debt to Dante. Review of: Ernesto Livorni: T. S. Eliot, Eugenio Montale, e la modernità dantesca.

Jonathan Buckley. How to be a Venetian: A writer’s entrancement by a city of stories. Review of: Cees Nooteboom, translated by Laura Watkinson: Venice: The lion, the city and the water.

Hal Jensen. Netflix for medievals: A sprawling gothic epic – on its own terms. Review of: Ben Hopkins: Cathedral.

Benjamin Markovits. Dropping out, a literary guide: From Thoreau and Hawthorne to Larkin and Tyler. (Essay)

In Brief Review of: Nikolai Leskov, translators Donald Rayfield, Robert Chandler and William Edgerton: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Selected stories of Nikolai Leskov.


Alan Davey. Returning to the essence: Wagner’s use of myths and Old Icelandic sagas to create his total work of art. (Essay on the influence of the Volsunga Saga on Wagner's Ring Cycle).

Anna Picard. Dereliction, then promise: Britten and Schubert: sinister ghosts and glimpses of spring. Review of Benjamin Britten's opera The Turn of the Screw and Franz Schubert's chamber music.

Hilary Davies. Chamber music: Locating ourselves in our unique soundscapes. Review of: Séan Street: The Sound of a Room: Memory and the auditory presence of place.

Science and Technology:

Jonathan Rée. Heard instinct: Deafness and the prosthetics for overcoming it. Review of: Jaipreet Virdi: Hearing Happiness: Deafness cures in history.

Houman Barekat. Loins led by donkeys: A sympathetic account of people who love animals too much. Review of: Joanna Bourke: Loving Animals: On bestiality, zoophilia and post-human love.

Richard Smyth. Rush of wings: A vindication of nature-lovers. Review of: Richard Mabey:Turning the Boat for Home: A life writing about nature.

Politics & Society:

Paul Seabright. One for the believers: The promises and slender evidentiary basis of democratic socialism. Paul S. Adler: The 99 Percent Economy: How democratic socialism can overcome the crises of capitalism.

Emily Kenway. Rigged business: Why corporate-led efforts to tackle exploitation are failing. Review of: Genevieve LeBaron: Combatting Modern Slavery: Why labour governance is failing and what we can do about it.

June Purvis. Not as nice as she looked: Sylvia Pankhurst – ‘warm human person’ or autocrat? Review of: Rachel Holmes: Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel.

In Brief Review of: Talia Lavin: Culture Warlords: My journey into the dark web of white supremacy.

In Brief Review of: Małgorzata Szejnert, Translated by Sean Gasper Bye: Ellis Island: A People's History.


In Brief Review of: Karen ní Mheallaigh: The Moon in the Greek and Roman Imagination.

Feb 17, 3:10pm

"Nine Articles of Humanist Reason that together make up a new kind of metadiscourse for the humanities" or, philosophical rebranding:

Sebastian Lecourt. LARB, 02/17/2021:Pitching the Discipline. Review of: Eric Hayot: Humanist Reason: A History. An Argument. A Plan.

Feb 17, 3:14pm

Foreword to: Schomburg Center and Michelle Commander, editors: Unsung: Unheralded Narratives of American Slavery & Abolition.

Kevin Young. LitHub, 02/17/2021: How the Schomburg Center Became a Cultural Beacon and Harlem’s Literary Sanctuary.

Feb 17, 3:20pm

Have Richard Powers' The Overstory queued on my e-reader; this seems related:

Veronica Hollinger. Public Books, 02/17/2021: Plants and Other Science Fictions. Review of: Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola, translated from the Italian by Joan Benham: Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence -- Natania Meeker and Antónia Szabari: Radical Botany: Plants and Speculative Fiction -- Katherine E. Bishop, David Higgins, and Jerry Määttä: Plants in Science Fiction: Speculative Vegetation.

Feb 19, 11:18am

Tell-all book about the TV show 60 Minutes:

Jim Windolf. NYT, 02/16/2021: Was ‘60 Minutes’ TV’s Most Toxic Workplace?. Review of: Ira Rosen: Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at “60 Minutes”

Feb 19, 11:23am

"McGhee’s book is about the many ways racism has defeated efforts to create a more economically just America. Once the civil rights movement expanded America’s conception of “the public,” white America’s support for public goods collapsed."

Michelle Goldberg. NYT, 02/19/2021: The Book That Should Change How Progressives Talk About Race. Review of: Heather McGee: The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together. "Once the civil rights movement expanded America’s conception of “the public,” white America’s support for public goods collapsed."

Feb 19, 11:26am

The French "government announced an investigation into social science research, broadening attacks on what it sees as destabilizing American influences."

Norimitsu Onishi and Constant Méheut. NYT, 02/18/2021: Heating Up Culture Wars, France to Scour Universities for Ideas That ‘Corrupt Society’.

Editado: Feb 19, 11:38am

Primo dish from Christopher Plummer's memoir:

Helen Shaw. Vulture, 02/19/2021: Please, Everyone, Read Christopher Plummer’s Autobiography. A look back at: Christopher Plummer: In Spite of Myself: A Memoir.

Feb 19, 11:45am

Why T.S. Eliot uh ... "disliked" the Jews & Hamlet:

David P. Goldman. First Things, March 2021: T.S. Eliot and the Jews.

Feb 19, 11:50am

"Late last month, as President-elect Biden prepared to mount the dais at the Capitol to become President Biden, the Grolier Club, on East Sixtieth Street, opened its doors to a room-size history of the republic as told through its magazines."

Nathan Heller. The New Yorker, 02/16/2021: What Are Magazines Good For?

Editado: Feb 19, 11:59am

A cultural history of Los Angeles:

William Deverell. LARB, 0218/2021: Playing Catch with Los Angeles. Review of: Peter Lunenfeld: City at the Edge of Forever: Los Angeles Reimagined.

Feb 19, 12:08pm

Janet Skeslien Charles on researching her book The Paris Library in Paris libraries:

Janet Skeslien Charles. LitHub, 02/19/2021: Getting Lost in the Libraries of Paris Researching WWII.

Editado: Feb 22, 11:51am

On the new Stan Lee biography:

Stephanie Burt. The New Yorker, 02/15 & 22/2021: Who Really Created the Marvel Universe? Review of: Abraham Riesman: True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee.

Feb 19, 12:36pm

"How can the invention of fiction itself be topped? "

Ed Simon. The Millions, 02/18/2021: Literature and Consciousness.

Feb 19, 12:42pm

"The pandemic may spell the end of many gay bars, but apps and increased acceptance for LGBTQ people meant most were already on the rocks. Should we mourn their passing?"

Samuel Clowes Huneke. The Boston Review, 02/18/2021: The Death of the Gay Bar. Review of: Jeremy Atherton Lin: The Death of the Gay Bar: Why We Went Out.

Feb 19, 12:46pm

"... embrace doing a mediocre job around the house":

Sandra Schmuhl Long. Electric Literature, 02/18/2021: Lydia Davis Is the Anti-Domesticity Influencer Pandemic Moms Need. About: Lydia Davis: Almost No Memory.

Feb 19, 12:51pm

Rethinking information literacy:

Barbara Fister. The Atlantic, 02/18/2021: The Librarian War Against QAnon.

Feb 19, 12:58pm

Two books on the politics of rare metals used in phones, computers, etc.:

Oliver Balch. Literary Review, 02/2021: Where the Streets are Paved with Thulium. Review of: Guillaume Pitron (Translated from French by Bianca Jacobsohn): The Rare Metals War: The Dark Side of Clean Energy and Digital Technologies and Joseph Zárate (Translated from Spanish by Annie McDermott): Wars of the Interior.

Feb 19, 1:00pm

On the new biography of Mary Wollstonecraft:

Judith Hawley. Literary Review, 02/2021: Mary, Quite Contrary. Review of: Sylvana Tomaselli: Wollstonecraft: Philosophy, Passion, and Politics.

Feb 19, 1:04pm

"The title of his latest book is inspired by Géricault’s studies of amputated limbs, while also alluding to disiecta membra, the term used to describe fragments of ancient manuscripts, and invoking the scattered words of poets. It is a book of observations and aphorisms, roughly concerned with medicine and the dreamlike business of being a mortal self."

Joanna Kavenna. Literary Review, 02/2021: Trust Me, I’m a Philosopher. Review of: Iain Bamforth: Scattered Limbs: A Medical Dreambook.

Editado: Feb 23, 12:11pm

The difficult politics of preaching forgiveness:

Moira Donegan. Bookforum, Dec-Feb 2021: Oh, Mercy: Two new books argue for a more forgiving stance on sexual violence. Review of: JoAnne Wypijewski: What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About #MeToo and Judith Levine and Erica R. Meiners: The Feminist and the Sex Offender: Confronting Sexual Harm, Ending State Violence.

Addendum. Not a book review, but related to the above:

Joseph Margulies. Boston Review, 02/23/2021: Who Deserves to Be Forgiven?.

Feb 19, 1:30pm

Having a heart attack when the guy who used to be president was elected:

Jeff Sharlet. Bookforum, Dec.-Feb. 2021: A Heart Is Not a Nation: Confronting the age of hate in America. Review of: Jean Guerrero: Hatemonger: Stephen Miller, Donald Trump, and the White Nationalist Agenda and Seyward Darby: Sisters in Hate: American Women on the Front Lines of White Nationalism.

Editado: Feb 23, 11:33am

The bicentenary of the death of Keats is Feb. 23, 2021:

Alison Flood. The Guardian, 02/19/2021: A joy forever: poetry world prepares to mark bicentenary of John Keats.


Richard Gundeman. The Conversation, 02/22/2021: John Keats’ concept of ‘negative capability’ – or sitting in uncertainty – is needed now more than ever.

The Guardian, 02/23/2021: John Keats: five poets on his best poems, 200 years since his death.

Editado: Feb 22, 11:48am

The centenary of the birth of John Rawls (b. 1921) and the 50th anniversary of his Theory of Justice:

Joshua Cohen. Boston Review, 02/20/2021: Rawls at 100.

Feb 20, 2:22pm

Deciding what to read. “As widely and as deeply as possible.”

Will Self. LitHub, 02/19/2021: Will Self on What to Read: Canons to the Left, Canons to the Right, and Everything in Between.

Editado: Feb 23, 11:52am

Octavia Butler -- which books to start with:

Stephen Kearse. NYT, 01/15/2021, upd. 02/18/2021: The Essential Octavia Butler.

I believe the only work I've read by Butler is Survivor so this is helpful. (Although I've started Kindred)


Ramtin Arablouei. NPR, 02/18/2021: How Octavia Butler's Sci-Fi Dystopia Became A Constant In A Man's Evolution.

Feb 21, 12:39pm

A new book on African-American religion:

Jon Meacham. NYT Book Review, 02/16/2021: Henry Louis Gates Jr. on African-American Religion. Review of Henry Louis Gates: The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song.

Editado: Feb 22, 10:09am

Upcoming biography of Edward Said:

Donna Ferguson. The Guardian, 02/21/2021: Unfinished manuscripts that lay behind Palestinian critic’s stated contempt for fiction. Due March 23: Timothy Brennan: Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said.

Feb 22, 10:18am

Tobias Wolff on Ernest Hemingway's short stories:

Tobias Wolff. The New Yorker, 02/20/2021: A Death in the Afternoon.

Feb 22, 10:46am

Darkmans seems to have been a bit overlooked in the U.S. (granted, it's pretty long). Here's a profile of the author:

Brlan Castleberry. LitHub, 02/22/2021: Nicola Barker is Our Great Post-Punk Novelist.

Feb 22, 10:49am

On the occasion of the reissue of Transit of Venus, the author is reconsidered:

Jo Livingstone. The New Republic, 02/19/2021: The Polite Rage of Shirley Hazzard.

Feb 22, 10:56am

On the "now" books of these times:

Michael Lindgren. The Millions, 02/22/2021: Bird Brain: Lauren Oyler, Patricia Lockwood, and the Literature of Twitter.

Feb 22, 12:26pm

This article is about how Netflix handles material based on gothic literary fiction, e.g. Shirley Jackson, Henry James:

B.D. McClay. The Baffler, 02/22/2021: American Gothic.

Feb 22, 1:33pm

Three essays from The University Bookman (Feb. 7 2021) on Eric Adler: The Battle of the Classics: How a Nineteenth-Century Debate Can Save the Humanities Today:

Jessica Hooten Wilson. What the Humanities Battle Is For.

Pavlos Papadopoulos. Order Beyond Adler.

Joshua Kinlaw. Content Is Key.

Feb 23, 11:43am

Another review of a book on the "origins" of science:

Henry M. Cowles. LARB, 02/22/2021: The Machine Stops: Science and Its Limits. Review of: Michael Straevens: The Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science.

Feb 23, 12:07pm

Kinky literature:

Matthew Zarenkiewicz. Baffler, 02/23/2021: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!. Review of: Garth Greenwell and R.O. Kwon, editors: Kink: Stories.

Feb 23, 12:20pm

On the Disrupt Texts movement (see >100 featherbear:):

Matthew Stewart. Aereo, 02/22/2021: The Disrupt Texts Movement.

Editado: Feb 23, 12:33pm

A 2016 novel about the Algerian War & its relevance today:

Rebecca Liu. Prospect, 02/23/2021: What fiction reveals about the Algerian War. On Joseph Andras, translator Simon Leser: Tomorrow They Won't Dare to Murder Us: A Novel.

Editado: Feb 24, 11:53pm

TLS, Feb. 26, no. 6152:


Catherine Taylor. Collisions in the dark: Elizabeth Bowen’s tales of past trauma and present discontents. (Essay)

Patricia Craig.
Doubts and shocks: Retracing the steps in a fraught ménage à trois. Review of: Julia Parry: The Shadowy Third: Love, letters and Elizabeth Bowen.

David Hobbs. They are therefore we think: A man is cast adrift in a world without humans and their systems. Review of: Guido Morselli, translator Frederika Randall: Dissipatio H.G..

Lamorna Ash. Body, soul, man, machine: The final, post-apocalyptic part of the Buckmaster trilogy. Review of: Paul Kingsnorth: Alexandria (the concluding novel of a trilogy; earlier titles: The Wake and Beast).

Lesley Chamberlain. Place your debts: How we have admired, accepted and anglicized Russian classics. Review of 3 dramas based on Russian literary sources: Devils, a BBC Radio play based on the novel by Dostoyevsky -- Rose Tremain, The Jester of Astapovo based on an event in the life of Leo Tolstoy -- Uncle Vanya, a BBC 4 film adaptation of the Ian Rickson West End theater production of the Chekov play.

Also, the weekly N.B. column: considers The Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction and reissues of 2 books by the children's author M.B. Goffstein, Brookie and Her Lamb and Fish for Supper.

Arts & Media:

Joyce Carol Oates. No ideas, but in things: The quintessential American minimalism of Walker Evans. Review of: Svetlana Alpers: Walker Evans: Starting from Scratch.

Colin Grant. On the road again: From covered wagons to camper vans: twenty-first-century nomads in the US. Review of the film Nomadland, directed by Chloé Zhao & featuring Frances McDormand.

Leo A. Lensing. Sundays with Salka: The rich life, in exile, of Greta Garbo’s MGM screenwriter. Review of: Salka Viertel: The Kindness of Strangers and Donna Rifkind: The Sun and Her Stars: Salka Viertel and Hitler’s exiles in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Bryan Cheyette. Atrocity exhibits: Two photographs, and the Holocaust stories behind them. Review of: Wendy Lower: The Ravine: A family, a photograph, a Holocaust massacre revealed and David Shneer: Grief: The biography of a Holocaust photograph. The 2 photographs are reproduced at the head of the review.

A.N. Wilson. I do love a newspaper: The press as a facet of ‘the Victorian success story.’ Review of: David Finkelstein, editor: The Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press. Volume 2: Expansion and evolution, 1800–1900.

In Brief Review of: Guy Davenport: A Balthus Notebook.

In Brief Review of: Richard Deming: Touch of Evil (the Orson Welles film).

Science and Technology:

Kate Brown. China’s green colonialism: The climate crisis brings out superpower rivalry. Review of: Yifei Li and Judith Shapiro: China Goes Green: Coercive environmentalism for a troubled planet and Daniel Yergin: The New Map: Energy, climate, and the clash of nations.


Dan-El Padilla Peralta. Divinity in stone: Reassessing the prevalence of statue-centred worship. Review of: Philip Kiernan: Roman Cult Images: The lives and worship of idols from the Iron Age to late antiquity.

Tom Stammers. Inquisitive after bookes: Singing the praises of the Bodleian’s vast Jewish collection. Review of: Rebecca Abrams and César Merchán-Hamann, editors: Jewish Treasures: From Oxford Libraries.

Abigail Green. Chosen, destined, but not superior: The disputed intellectual territory of Jewish exceptionalism. Review of: Adam Sutcliffe: What Are Jews For?: History, peoplehood and purpose.

Politics and Society:

Mia Levitin. The sexual is contextual: Why consent is only ever part of the exchange. Review of: Katherine Angel: Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again: Women and desire in the age of consent.

Madhavi Menon. ‘Have you no shame?’: Sex in the Indian Subcontinent. Review of: Sonia Faleiro: The Good Girls: An Ordinary Killing. On "honor killings" in India.

Jeremy Brown. Shared sacrifice of war: The Party is at last recognizing the role of its Nationalist rivals. Review of: Rana Mitter: China's Good War: How World War II is shaping a new nationalism.

David Kynaston. Better all the time?: The complicated relationship between education and equality. Review of: Peter Mandler: The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain’s transition to mass education since the Second World War.

Feb 25, 10:11am

See Literature section in >145 featherbear: above for another review.

Nina Allan. The Guardian, 02/25/2021: Alexandria by Paul Kingsnorth review – the completion of the Buckmaster trilogy.

Feb 25, 10:42am

An excerpt from The Delusions Of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups:

William J. Bernstein. LitHub, 02/25/2021: The Dark World of Rapture Fiction.

Ayer, 9:54am

Reading through the New York Times Book Review archives on the occasion of its 125th anniversary:

Parul Sehgal. NYT, 02/26/2021: Reviewing the Book Review.

Ayer, 9:58am

Pronouns, virtue signaling & all that:

Bryan A. Garner. LARB, 02/27/2021: Pronominal Strife. Review of: Dennis Baron: What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She.