I am always on the look out for more worthwhile literary sites that take me to places I always wanted to go to or make me think about things I’d yet to consider. And to find out about more books, of course.
If you enjoy interviews with a variety of figures involved in publishing from authors to designers and publishing heads do take a hop and skip over to Nigel Beale’s Nota Bene Books. I’ve seen it pop up in Metaxucafe‘s headlines and visited occasionally but it wasn’t until Mr. Beale came along and put the interviews right in front of me (I didn’t know that he conducted interviews) that I really started to dig around.
His interviews are notable for a laconic, unscripted style that has everyone settling in nicely as gets around to tougher questions that provoke thoughtful (or sceptical) pauses or slightly uncomfortable laugh before they dig into an interesting point. I imagine that Beale starts out looking very much as he does in his site picture: slightly reclining, pencil cocked, quite harmless before a stray remark prompts to stiffen, lean forward slightly, eyes trained on the author as he says, Wait a minute, you can’t tell the readers that they read a scene incorrectly. When you’re writing it, it’s yours, when I buy it becomes mine.
Favourites so far are the ones he conducted with Kathyrn Court, President of Penguin Paperbacks and Plume for the Penguin USA division, and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott. She talked about getting Chris Ware for Candide:Or, Optimism, a selection from the Penguin Classic Deluxe editions (of which I have several including the Voltaire, plus a few from the Great Ideas Series). Walcott? It won’t matter for he will win you with his potent affability and warm sense of humour. His interview was like the audio version of a hot chocolate with a touch or two of Jamaican rum. Real good stuff.
Among other literary figures Walcott mentioned in that interview was Joseph Brodsky, a very good friend of his. I don’t know much about Brodsky at all but, as now happens so regularly with the occasional book or new author I “discover”, his name started to pop up everywhere. Scott Horton posted a short piece on him over at his Harper’s Magazine blog.
Have I praised Harper’s Magazine lately? In addition to sharp, vibrant, cogent and passionate political commentary it publishes poetry and excerpts from unfailingly interesting books, new and old, whether it’s a parable published by an Argentinian worker’s co-op or a story from Marguerite Duras’ latest collection of hitherto unpublished notebooks.
I changed things up a bit. The old theme was boring me to tears. It will be easier to navigate among posts, especially those I did in parts. That’s for you anonymous searcher looking for analysis on “The Wanderer”.