The Daily

Arts & Culture

On the Shelf

December 14, 2011 | by

A cultural news roundup.

  • Cult author Russell Hoban has died at eighty-six.
  • Just what every child hopes to find under the tree: a Joyce Carol Oates doll.
  • Not so much? How about some grammatical correction?
  • A children’s science book?
  • Or a Vonnegut-inspired tee?
  • (#booknerd)
  • These same people might enjoy an at-home table-reading party.
  • The Utne Reader pulls up stakes for Kansas.
  • Tuck Everlasting: The Musical.
  • Literary novels, the HBO shows.
  • On Joan Didion’s “Oh, wow.” : “Much of the fun in these rather bitchy back-and-forths is seeing literary heavyweights get just this peevish.”
  • Capote in the buff!
  • Pooh’s predecessor!


    1. Joe Carlson | December 15, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Best dismissive replies by literary heavyweights? Some are not in public print but in private letters, which only much later become public. In 1956 William Faulkner wrote Saul Bellow to join in an effort to get Ezra Pound released from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. Bellow’s reply, recently published in Benjamin Taylor’s edited LETTERS, was dated January, 7, 1956:

      “Pound is not in prison but in an insane asylum. If sane he should be tried again as a traitor; if insane he ought not to be released merely because he is a poet…In France, Pound would have been shot. Free him because he is a poet? Why, better poets than he were exterminated, perhaps. Shall we say nothing on their behalf?”

      Imagine Faulkner’s jaw dropping as he reaches for the bourbon.

    2. Sadie Stein | December 15, 2011 at 11:33 am

      I’ve always been partial to Evelyn Waugh’s description (to N. Mitford, I think) of Henry Green: “Here in the country he looked GHASTLY. Very long black dirty hair, one brown tooth, pallid puffy face, trembling hands, stone deaf, smoking continuously throughout meals, picking up books in the middle of conversation & falling into manic giggles, drinking lots of raw spirits…”

    3. Jenny Tripp | January 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm

      I actually didn’t realize Hoban wrote for adults; the Francis books I have memorized.

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