A literary buffet
Posted March 5, 2007on:
Amanda A. at Blog Jar highlighted the new issue of Estella’s Revenge: a self-described “literary webzine” that offers a mix of reviews, book news and book-related columns. I’ve been there before but there was something about this issue that made a big impression.
Part of that “something” was Jodie’s outstanding piece on Philip Larkin. His name has been flung here and there among my diverse bookish readings but nothing ever grabbed me. Everyone always mentioned how modern, ‘vulgar’ and devil-may-care his poetry was and none of that struck me as being particularly interesting. (Kind of a teenage idea of what it means to be anti-establishment or whatever they thought he was supposed to be.) Jodie bypassed all that and dove in to the work. Her sharp, concise appreciation of his poetry was highly persuasive; at my next book store jaunt I may flip through his Collected, paying special attention to Weddings and Funerals which is Jodie’s favourite.
There is other good reading fodder. Our own Amanda A. does a great job on proving that Asheville in North Carolina is a literary city. I recognised a few of the authors: Thomas Wolfe has the honour of writing one of the books I’ve left uncompleted and will probably never finish; Carl Sandburg retired near Asheville, in Flat Rock. And Heather T. at the Library Ladder gives a precise introduction to Voltaire’s Candide.
I’ve only given a taste of the selection. The ‘zine has a generally informal, inviting tone and was a lot of fun to browse. I’m already a bit anxious for the new issue.
For more serious but equally pleasurable fare there’s the new Quarterly Conversation Spring issue. There’s a big headline article by my favourite, Dan Green, on Orhan Pamuk. Sadly I have deprived myself of its gifts because I feel as though I should read at least one more Pamuk novel before I read any in-depth exploration of his style and themes. Especially since it’s about an author in whom I do have an active interest and about whose work I’d like to develop my own ideas and impressions
But I really want to read it. 😦
I felt perfectly fine about reading a review of Robert Bolano’s Amulet since I’m interested in the author but haven’t tried any of his stuff yet. Scott Esposito‘s considered take on how Thiong’o examines and realises his artistic and political ideas through his fiction makes Wizard of the Crow appear even more appetising. It provides a lot of information that will prove helpful when I start to read it, especially since I had never heard of Thiong’o before his latest novel release. Of Song and Water by Joseph Coulson sounds really good too, no? Elizabeth Wadell re-read Catch 22–I should get around to reading that one day, right?–and if you read the NYTBR review of Vollman’s Poor People it would be advantageous (or at the very least interesting) to read what Dave Munger thought. Ed Champion, the Reluctant Ranter, also reviewed the book for the LA Times.