– The latest issue of Boldtype is out – the “Escape” Issue:
This month we celebrate the art of absconding, with a selection of books that draw readers down paths less traveled. An anti-tourist scours lesser-visited, former Soviet states for non-adventures, while another writer is on a mission to visit the holiday hot spots of the Roman empire. Even more astonishing is Rory Stewart’s memoir of walking across Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. Escapism can have its tragic side, however, as with the wealthy but imperiled Finzi-Continis. Photographers Robbins and Becher capture the deja vu of geographic and cultural displacements. The going gets weird as New Yorker fiction editor Bill Buford signs his life away to Mario Batali as a kitchen slave, and, in a new novel, an aging professor becomes addicted to a drug that allows him to relive his fondest memories. Finally, a feature on new editions of the work of Little Nemo cartoonist Winsor McCay provides flights of fantasy that are totally armchair-accessible.
– So is the latest University Bookman. As a one time graduate student in history I found the review of recent books on historical consciousness fascinating.
– Brock Clarke has a fascinating piece in the latest issue of the Virginia Quarterly: The Novel is Dead, Long Live the Novel. Writing in reaction to Rachel Donadioâ€™s essay in the New York Times Book Review, â€œTruth Is Stronger than Fiction,â€ he politely eviscerates Tom Wolfe and praises a book I had not heard of before, The Effect of Living Backwards. This is another one of those areas where the “politics of literature” don’t match up. I have never been a fan of Mr. Wolfe and I quite enjoy Brock Clarke. More on this later (the article not the politics) if I can get my thoughts together.
– In case you hadn’t noticed, God of the Machine is back up and running. Check out the new design and the new mini-blog for regular pithy comments.