Critical Notes

Round ‘Em Up


Sunday Styles has a profile of the novelist and Martin Amis-attached Isabel Fonseca, heralding the publication of her novel Attachment. While on staff at the Times Literary Supplement, Fonseca apparently counted “among her many admirers, to judge from contemporary accounts, …Clive James, Bill Buford, Salman Rushdie and the actor John Malkovich.” A challenge to profilers of female novelists: Attempt to discuss said novelist without bolstering her rep with exhaustive round-ups of alleged admirers, unless you’re going to be sure to note who Mary McCarthy had her eye on back in the day.

Commentary has put Terry Teachout‘s The Amateur as a Critic, from the November issue, online. Why are the old-guard masters of newsprint all but forgotten?

Speaking of newsprint, I’m always waiting for someone to discuss how the decline of newsprint may mitigate our outlandish carbon footprint, if in fact it does. Unsurprisingly, the Times’ Green Issue seems curiously free of editorially-oriented paper-product projections, unless you count the searing study of the Whole Foods paper/plastic quandary. (Guess the Times isn’t ready to dissuade its newsprint subscribers from…uh…subscribing yet.) Okay, no one will tell me if killing off critics saves the environment. But will someone explain how I’ve reduced my own carbon footprint if I forget the reusable bag and buy five new ones every time?

But online reviewers aren’t safe either! Galleycat reports that the mighty Amazon is kicking off baddies, or something.

What’s the answer? Why, turn to cartoons, of course! Historian Howard Zinn is setting the way with a graphic edition of A People’s History of American Empire. (Look forward to my “Not in My 29.99,” a 4-color exegesis on books you should hold off on until they’re remaindered.) And see below for Zinn’s VIDEO! I knew being mentioned in Good Will Hunting would make him go Hollywood eventually.

And last, longtime NBCC member Floyd Skloot has two raves for his forthcoming Selected Poems.