Critical Notes

Roundup, Pynchon Edition

By Eric Banks

NBCC members are weighing in on the new Thomas Pynchon and his new novel Inherent Vice. Here are Art Winslow in the Chicago Tribune, Rayyan Al-Shawaf in the Miami Herald, and Jacob Silverman in the VQR online. And former NBCC president John Freeman weighed in on Pynchon here and here for the BBC. Remarkably, as NBCC member M.A. Orthofer notes at the Literary Saloon at the Complete Review, an astonishing forty-three reviews (by his count) of the novel appeared before the book’s pub date of August 4.

Speaking of the Literary Saloon, congrats to Orthofer on the seventh anniversary of the weblog! Give that guy a desk set!

In the Seattle Times, which Ad Age reports is inching back to profitability, NBCC board member Mary Ann Gwinn discusses Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Played with Fire. In the Washington Post, board member Kevin Prufer publishes (and discusses) his poem “Seeds.” In the Boston Globe, Roxana Robinson advises to stop heroin use before it’s too late. NBCC member Joe Peschel reviewed David Updike’s Old Girlfriends in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and wrote on Richard Lange’s This Wicked World for the Raleigh News & Observer. And from Blog Critics magazine, new NBCC member Helen Gallagher reviews Julia Child’s memoir, My Life in France and considers Script and Scribble: The Rise and Fall of Handwriting.

More Frank McCourt: NBCC member and Pittsburgh book editor Bob Hoover on how Mary Breasted helped McCourt find his publisher. Meanwhile, Malachy McCourt has asked the LImerick City Council not to proceed with its plans to erect a statue in memory of his brother and the town’s favorite son.

More congratulations: the Italian translation of NBCC member John Domini’s Earthquake I.D. is a finalist for the prestigious Domico Rea prize. Stalwart former NBCC board member Steve Weinberg’s book Taking on the Trust: The Epic Battle of Ida Tarbell and John D. Rockefeller, has just appeared in paperback from Norton. Hear, hear!

Bookforum‘s new “Syllabi” feature includes board member Craig Morgan Teicher’s reader’s list on experimental poetry, NBCC member Maud Newton roundup of excellent titles dealing with doubt, and Yours Truly on what to read about the Manson Family.

Finally, Nick Clark, chief curator of the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, in Amherst, MA, writes of his museum’s project with the late Eden Ross Lipson, who for twenty-one years was children’s book editor at the New York Times Book Review: “A little over a year ago began working with Eden Ross Lipson on a project she had conjured up about the placement of cats within picture books with no apparent connection to the narrative. She called it “Silent Cats.” We embarked upon this and quickly realized that to track down all of the art would take too much time (especially given the already set exhibition schedule here at the Museum). Consequently we decided to gather the books and display them in our reading library—-you can “visit” the Museum online at Sadly, it was not to be for Eden to see this wonderful project realized or her book with Mordicai Gerstein launched. Thus we would like to acknowledge both of these projects here at the Museum and try and entice people off of the island of Manhattan to visit the wilds of Amherst and the Museum. We have chartered a bus for Saturday October 3, 2009 and are working on a program for the day that will include lunch, a panel discussion about Eden’s role in the world of children’s books, a chance to visit the display of books about silent cats, and, of course, an opportunity to visit the rest of the Museum.” For more information, contact Mr. Clark through the website.