The Nabakovs At WorkKeeping Up with the Nabokovs | Read It Forward

July 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of Vladimir Nabokov’s death in 1977. He was a multilingual master of prose who crafted some of the twentieth century’s most enduring works of fiction, including Lolita; Pale Fire; Ada, or Ardor; Pnin; and Invitation to a Beheading. His sentences were more like sculptures than strings of words, even when he wrote in English, his fourth language. Although profound on the darkness of human behavior, he was also funny as hell—who could forget, for instance, how he unceremoniously explained Humbert’s mother’s death in Lolita with two words: “picnic, lightning”? His fiction could be challenging and ambitiously experimental, as in his novel Pale Fire, which consists of a 999-line poem written by one of the characters, and endnotes to the poem written by another. Nabokov’s novels were each… Continue reading.

book-tents-1The Best Books About Books, Part II | Literary Hub

Last summer, I wrote a piece about a number of books that were themselves about books, a category that happens to be my very favorite. Though I maybe should have anticipated it (it was, after all, a decidedly literary essay on a decidedly literary website), “The Best Books About Books” attracted a lot of attention—more so, I’m sure, because of the titles collected than for the quality of my writing. But nonetheless I was pleased to see those works receiving due promotion, which is mainly the only joy a critic experiences.

08-the-novel-a-biography-michael-schmidtThe Art of The Novel | The Millions
I am going to try to convince you that The Novel is one of the most important works of both literary history and criticism to be published in the last decade. The reason Schmidt’s book is so effective and important has to do with its approach, its scope, and its artistry, which all come together to produce a book of such varied usefulness, such compact wisdom, that it’ll take a lot more than a few reviews to fully understand its brilliant contribution to literary study.

josswhedonbiographyJoss Whedon: The Biography by Amy Pascale | Slant
Joss Whedon is a sycophantic enterprise, a serviceable document of his career, well researched, thorough, and topic savvy, but she spends more time tracking the ins and outs of Whedon’s many projects than she does on his actual life. Whedon, here, is more like a composite of all his creations, a Creator, and less like an interesting person deserving of a full-fledged biography.”