The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Herman Wouk’

Sing It, Walt! and Other News

May 19, 2015 | by


Whitman at age twenty-eight, 1848.

  • After seventeen years, Judy Blume is publishing a new novel—for adults. “In so many of Blume’s books, her main characters’ bodies insist on their inherent, primal messiness; they crave, they ooze, break out in rashes as strange and humiliating as desire itself. The body is reckless, but telling.”
  • Walt Whitman, pop-music critic: in 1845, the poet published a brief review in Broadway Journal, where he pays a hearty compliment to a family of singers: “The sight of them, as they are, puts one in mind of health and fresh air in the country, at sunrise—the dewy, earthy fragrance that comes up then in the moisture, and touches the nostrils more gratefully than all the perfumes of the most ingenious chemist.”
  • Herman Wouk turns one hundred this month. Give the guy a break. “Readers under forty know Wouk, if they know him at all, as a name on the spine of a paperback shoved into a cottage bookshelf at the end of someone else’s summer vacation—or perhaps as the supplier of the raw material for Humphrey Bogart’s epic performance as Captain Queeg of the USS Caine. What they don’t know is that Herman Wouk has a fair claim to stand among the greatest American war novelists of them all.”
  • “Often when I’m home alone, only the thought of how my dead body might be found helps me act proper … I thought of this while going to the local deli to buy a carrot and a couple of onions. A long time ago, when I started living by myself, before my wife-to-be and I moved in together, I used to be very careful when I went to the grocer’s for a carrot or a courgette to buy more than one—for who, when cooking for one, ever needs more than one carrot?—in case the grocer thought I had improper designs on the vegetable … These days, I do not give a damn. I am too busy palpating my solitude, as the tongue probes a gap in the teeth.”
  • Paul Ford on “No Manifesto for Poetry Readings and Listservs and Magazines and ‘Open Versatile Spaces Where Cultural Production Flourishes,’ ” a new collaborative poem: “My own opinion of whether the poem is good or bad doesn’t matter. The poem makes me squirm; it makes me roll my eyes; it makes me angry at the world; and it makes me tired. I keep coming back to it. This poem indicates a lot of things at once about how cultural work is done now, in form, content, and means of production.”

Hidden Mother, and Other News

September 12, 2014 | by


Spot the mom. “Photographer Laura Larson’s series, Hidden Mother, presents a survey of nineteenth-century tintype portraits in which the mother of the child was included in the photograph, but obscured.” Image via the New Republic

  • All American fiction is young-adult fiction … to be an American adult has always been to be a symbolic figure in someone else’s coming-of-age story. And that’s no way to live. It is a kind of moral death in a culture that claims youthful self-invention as the greatest value. We can now avoid this fate. The elevation of every individual’s inarguable likes and dislikes over formal critical discourse, the unassailable ascendancy of the fan, has made children of us all. We have our favorite toys, books, movies, video games, songs, and we are as apt to turn to them for comfort as for challenge or enlightenment.”
  • Alan Moore, the author of Watchmen and V for Vendetta, has written a million-word novel. “To put that ‘more-than-a-million-word document’ into context: Samuel Richardson’s doorstopper, Clarissa, runs to around 970,000 words, 200,000 more than the Bible. War and Peace is around 560,000 words long.”
  • The latest chapter in the reinvention of the lending library: lending helpful objects alongside books, e.g., a pole and tackle, knitting needles, cake pans, GoPros, telescopes.
  • The tintype portraits of the nineteenth century needed long exposures, which meant that any family trying to get baby pictures had to have extremely patient children. How to get the kids to sit still? Include their mother in the shot—but obscure her, because these are baby pictures, after all. “In some instances, the mother would hold her child, with a cloth or props hiding her from the lens. Or, she would be painted over by the photographer after the image had been taken. In other examples, the mother is entirely absent from the frame, save for an arm, holding the child in place. The results are both funny and slightly disturbing.”
  • Herman Wouk’s Don’t Stop the Carnival is touted as “the best novel ever set in the Virgin Islands.” A new novel by Tiphanie Yanique aims to set its record straight: “Virgin Islanders don’t really give [Don’t Stop the Carnival] much thought. We don’t think it’s a good representation of who we are. And yet this was the book being marketed as a credible anthropological text … The Virgin Islanders in the book are buffoons … I wanted to write something that people would say, ‘If you’re going to read the Herman Wouk, you have to also read the Yanique.’”


Scandals, Contests, and Noms de Guerre

April 10, 2012 | by

  • RIP Christine Brooke-Rose, an experimental novelist who has died at eighty-nine. Quoth the New York Times, she had “the ardor of a philologist, the fingers of a prestidigitator and the appetite of a lexivore, resulting in novels that exhilarated many critics and enervated others.”
  • The ALA’s list of 2011’s most-challenged books includes To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games, and My Mom’s Having a Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler.
  • Amazing movie-title stills.
  • England’s poet laureate takes on the Pendle Witches. “This was a grisly affair, even by the debased standards of the day, with two of the women hanged at Lancaster castle aged over eighty and blind, another probably driven mad by a disfigured face with one eye lower than the other, and all ten convicted largely on the evidence of a nine-year-old child.”
  • You surely know O. Henry’s real name, and the pen names of the Brontes … but there are some real surprises on this list of authorial noms de guerre!
  • At the New York Public Library, Thoreau goes digital.
  • Ninety-six-year-old Herman Wouk’s latest novel, The Lawgiver, chronicles the making of a movie about Moses via “letters, memos, emails, journals, news articles, recorded talk, tweets, Skype transcripts, and text messages.”
  • A literary tattoo showdown.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. contest rewards the winner, appropriately, with classic pulp.