Critical Notes

Roundup 22

By Eric Banks

NBCC Balakian award winner George Scialabba reviews the “excellent” new biography of Ignazio Silone by Stanislao Pugliese, Bitter Spring.

Well before the Beatles first LP (apologies to Larkin)…. This week marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark ruling concerning Grove Press’s suit against the Postal Service’s confiscation (on grounds of obscenity) of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover. In the New York Times, Fred Kaplan notes this signal moment in American publishing history.

Frank McCourt, who received the 1997 NBCC award in autobiography/biography for Angela’s Ashes, died on July 19 at age 78. In the New York Times, former students remember his stellar work as a high school writing teacher. And worth revisiting is this terrific 1996 Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross.

At Barnes & Noble Review, NBCC board member Scott McLemee reviews Peter Alexander Meyers’s Civic War and the Corruption of the Citizen, and NBCC president Jane Ciabattari reviews James Lee Burke’s Rain Gods.

Nigel Beale talks to Ha Jin on the writer as migrant.

Bookforum’s gone daily (on-line): Congrats and bon chance to NBCC members (and my former fellow BF soldiers) Albert Mobilio and Nicole Rudick!

In the Minneapolis Star Tribune, John Freeman reviews Colum McCann’s new Let the Great World Spin, a novel based on Philippe Petit’s 1974 tightrope jaunt between the Twin Towers. And in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, NBCC member Joe Peschel reviews Frederick Barthelme’s Waveland.

What’s on your postmodern reading list? In the LA Times‘s always interesting Jacket Copy, Carolyn Kellogg annotates her selection of 61 essential titles.