Critical Notes

Weekend Roundup


David L. Ulin interviews Toni Morrison live in LA on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Morrison reviewed by Carlin Romano. Judith Freeman. Michiko Kakutani. Jennifer Reese. Karen Long. Maggie Galehouse. Ellen Heltzel. Tim Adams. Peter Kemp. Anita Sethi. My own take.

David Orr on “Letters of Ted Hughes” and “it.”

Graydon Carter on “George, Being George”:“For someone like me, who grew up in the Canadian provinces, Plimpton was, like Bennett Cerf before him, the public face of the New York intellectual: tweedy, eclectic and with a plummy accent he himself described as “Eastern seaboard cosmopolitan.”

Celia McGee on the play based on Virginia Woolf’s “The Waves:”

“That run happens to be about a century after the Bloomsbury group came together. If this juncture seems apt for bringing Woolf to the stage, the timing was partly luck. [Katie] Mitchell’s solution to transforming the nearly 300-page modernist novel into a commensurate theater piece was a long time coming. Speaking of “The Waves” from her home in London, she said: “I first encountered it at 19, at Oxford, and I probably didn’t understand huge swaths of it. Now I have a stronger sense of what Woolf was aiming for and how extremely radical it was, but though I flirted with adapting it for 20 years, I couldn’t imagine how. I couldn’t find a method fine enough for capturing a work that happens inside people’s heads.”

Adam Kirsch on literary fame:

“…the Internet brings the atomized, absolute competitiveness of capitalism to the struggle for recognition that is literature. Online, there are no mediating institutions—no editors, magazines, publishing houses, or critics with the power to confer or protect literary reputation.

“This ought to be a paradise—a Rousseauan state of nature, uncorrupted by authority and custom, where all readers and writers are free and equal. In fact…it is more like a Hobbesian state of nature, where everyone is at war against everyone else.”

Mary Ann Gwinn on Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, and “overscheduled children.”

Scott McLemee on George Orwell.

The latest from the Bookbabes (Ellen Heltzel and Margo Hammond) on tour.

Just when we need it, Geeta Sharma-Jensen recommends books about…money. (Niall Ferguson, anyone?)

Jim Ruland hosting an arreverant reading tomorrow night 8pm with fiction writers Janet Fitch and Gary Amdahl, Portland poet Dan Kaplan, and a special dispatch from the front lines of the elections by Josh Bearman, at the Mountain Bar, 473 Gin Ling Way, just across from the Wishing Well in L.A.‘s Chinatown.

Ben Ratliff reading at 192 Books in New York on Tuesday at 7 pm.