WRB—Sept. 3, 2022
No one places Classified ads anymore
I received the WRB a few days ago
I understood every word that it said
And now that I’ve actually read it
You’re going to regret
To do list:
Follow us on Twitter [Or Instagram. Or Facebook.] to keep up with the Barely-Managing WRB Summer Intern [We’ll have to change his title now that it’s Labor Day Weekend. —Chris];
Order a tote bag;
avail yourself of our world-famous classified ads, now stored on this page for non-paying readers to access, either by placing or responding to one;
The New York Review of . . . Video Games? Gabriel Winslow-Yost on The Stanley Parable. [For years I’ve wanted someone to make The Stan Lee Parable. —Nic]
Carla Galdo makes the case for Czesław Miłosz in Humanum: “His work pushes against nihilism by discerning a fragile goodness within the world and its things, discoverable only to the attentive eye.”
“The language of the apocalypse is dangerous because it is the language of divine fatalism.” Alyssa Harad in The Kenyon Review.
Jim Ruland write for Alta about Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel, Inherent Vice, and why it goes unappreciated: “Throughout his novels—which address subjects ranging from the founding of America to the destruction of Europe—he is interested in those on the wrong end of imperialism. To put it another way, Pynchon is obsessed with real estate: both the builders and the dispossessed. It’s no accident that at the center of The Crying of Lot 49 and Inherent Vice are dead or missing developers.”
Ed Simon has an essay about Mary Sydney’s translations of the Psalms.
Marcus Hijkoop reviews a new NYRB Classics issue (Victor Serge, Last Times, August) for the LA Review of Books: “Journalists and intellectuals are portrayed throughout the novel as hopelessly out of touch with the people, and before long ‘every idea capable of providing the subject for a magazine article [begins] to repel’ even the writers, some of whom come to believe that they ‘have debased everything by thinking in terms of printed matter and newspaper clippings.’”
In the Times, Lauren Christensen notes a forthcoming compilation (Wild Things Are Happening, September) of the art of Maurice Sendak, of Where the Wild Things Are fame.
And at TLS, Mark Wormald on a book about fishing from this summer (Illuminated by Water, July).
For The New Statesman, Johanna Thomas-Corr reviews Ian McEwan’s latest novel, out this month (Lessons, September): “In recent years, McEwan’s novels have often asserted the messiness of life but remained mirthfully detached from it. Not here. Lessons is deep and wide, ambitious and humble, wise and substantial. It is, to my mind, McEwan’s best novel in 20 years because it is so alert to human texture and complexity.”
David Bentley Hart reviews David Harsanyi’s recent book on Europe (Eurotrash, 2021) for The Lamp: “The truth is that adult minds do not produce books like Eurotrash. A serious writer approaching a comparative evaluation of the two societies with anything like a fair mind would have discovered that America and Europe have much to learn from one another, much to lament about themselves, and perhaps many defects in common. There is, it is true, a very great deal to criticize about the nations of contemporary Europe, and even to some extent of Europe in general (though the latter is a perilously imprecise course to pursue). But, then again, what of us? A near perfect mirror inversion of Harsanyi’s book would be so very easy to write. There are so many ‘leading indicators’ by which we trail not only almost all the European nations, but all other economically developed nations worldwide.”
Speaking of, David Bentley Hart says he was one of the last—if not the last—people to speak to Harold Bloom.
Two NextDoor finds: a nice old set of Nancy Drew and a series of Turkish kids’ books.
The Booker Prize shortlist will be announced next week. See the longlist here.
Joan Didion’s public funeral will be held at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on September 21 at 5:00 p.m. Eulogists include Hilton Als, Jerry Brown, Anthony Kennedy, Susanna Moore, Vanessa Redgrave, David Remnick, Patti Smith, Jia Tolentino, and Calvin Trillin. [See you there. —Nic]
Henry Oliver pleas for better anthologies. Maybe the print edition of the WRB is a good place to start.
We like to think that the WRB could field a respectable softball team.
October 4 | Heyday
Feels Like Home: A Song for the Sonoran Borderlands
by Linda Ronstadt
From the publisher: In Feels Like Home, Grammy award-winning singer Linda Ronstadt effortlessly evokes the magical panorama of the high desert, a landscape etched by sunlight and carved by wind, offering a personal tour built around meals and memories of the place where she came of age. Growing up the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants and a descendant of Spanish settlers near northern Sonora, Ronstadt’s intimate new memoir celebrates the marvelous flavors and indomitable people on both sides of what was once a porous border whose denizens were happy to exchange recipes and gather around campfires to sing the ballads that shaped Ronstadt’s musical heritage. Following her best-selling musical memoir, Simple Dreams, this book seamlessly braids together Ronstadt’s recollections of people and their passions in a region little understood in the rest of the United States. This road trip through the desert, written in collaboration with former New York Times writer Lawrence Downes and illustrated throughout with beautiful photographs by Bill Steen, features recipes for traditional Sonoran dishes and a bevy of revelations for Ronstadt’s admirers. If this book were a radio signal, you might first pick it up on an Arizona highway, well south of Phoenix, coming into the glow of Ronstadt’s hometown of Tucson. It would be playing something old and Mexican, from a time when the border was a place not of peril but of possibility.
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