The New York Times Looks Back at Books About Heroes (or Antiheroes), Sacrifice, Passion, and More

From a New York Times story headlined “What Makes for a Great Literary Romance?”:

“Love is strange,” wrote Thomas Pynchon, citing the 1956 Mickey and Sylvia hit single, in his 1988 New York Times review of Gabriel García Márquez’s novel “Love in the Time of Cholera.” As we get older, he continued, “we may begin to regard love songs, romance novels, soap operas and any live teenage pronouncements at all on the subject of love with an increasingly impatient, not to mention intolerant, ear.”

The New York Times By the Book With Tom McCarthy: “The Wrong Kurt Vonnegut Book Is Famous”

From a New York Times By the Book column headlined “Tom McCarthy Thinks the Wrong Kurt Vonnegut Book Is Famous”:

“I was really disappointed when I read ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’” says Tom McCarthy, the author of “The Making of Incarnation” and other novels. “But then I read his ‘Mother Night,’ and thought it was brilliant.”

What books are on your night stand?

“Critique of Fantasy,” by Laurence Rickels; “The Superrationals,” by Stephanie LaCava; “The Encyclopedia of Surfing,” by Matt Warshaw.

What’s the last great book you read?

Carlos Lozada: “To glimpse the coming dismemberment of the United States, just stop by your local bookstore”

From a Washington Post review by Carlos Lozada headlined “A new book imagines a looming civil war over the very meaning of America”:

To glimpse the coming dismemberment of the United States of America, just stop by your local bookstore.

“How Civil Wars Start” by Barbara F. Walter, one of the most-discussed titles of the moment, warns that the signs typically heralding such conflicts are now evident at home. “Divided We Fall” by David French, published weeks before the 2020 election, pictures the cleaving of the United States into two culturally distinct states, united only in their mutual detestation.

Man Arrested in Thefts of Unpublished Book Manuscripts

From an AP story by Deepti Hajela headlined “Mystery solved? Man arrested in thefts of unpublished books”:

Authorities say they’ve solved a publishing industry whodunit with the arrest of a man accused of numerous literary heists in recent years, allegedly impersonating others in the industry to amass a veritable library of unpublished works.

Filippo Bernardini, an Italian citizen working in publishing in London, was arrested after arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, said Damian Williams, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

12 Books to Start a Smarter New Year

From a Wall Street Journal story headlined “12 Books to Start a Smart New Year”:

Starting 2022 with the desire for renewal? Whether it’s a better way of ordering your thoughts, your diet or your inbox, these books—all reviewed in The Wall Street Journal in the past year—have ideas to get you started.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
By Adam Grant / Viking
The psychologist and author of “Originals” pushes us to be humble in our convictions, curious about the alternatives—and open to discovery. His aim is to “explore how rethinking happens,” how we change our minds, how we persuade others, and how we build cultures of lifelong learning. Read the review

Two Good Looks—in the Washington Post and New York Times—at the Book “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story”

In the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada reviews the book “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story,” which was edited by Nikole Hannah-Jones, Caitlin Roper, Ilena Silverman and Jake Silverstein. The opening grafs:

Mark McGurl: “Amazon Has Transformed the Way We Read Books, and How They’re Written”

From a Wall Street Journal books column by Sam Sacks headlined “Amazon has transformed the way we read books—and, according to Mark McGurl, how they’re written.”:

Early in his study “Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon, ” Stanford professor and literary critic Mark McGurl points out that the wealthiest novelist of all time is not J.K. Rowling or James Patterson or any other habitual mega-bestseller, but MacKenzie Scott, the author of two modestly well-received works of literary fiction and, incidentally, the billionaire ex-wife of Jeff Bezos. The statement, in Mr. McGurl’s usual fashion, is as provocative as it is casually asserted. On one hand, it has the virtue of being technically true, lending credence to Mr. McGurl’s argument that Amazon is overturning the way we understand books, changing them at a molecular level from works of art into monetizable products. On the other hand, the claim is based on an accidental correlation: Ms. Scott is rich, but not from her writing….