The Mad Ones Are Best

Stacy Schiff reviews the new biography Jean-Jacques Rousseau: An Unruly Mind by Leo Damrosch in the NYTBR: He did manage to indulge one of his greater talents, that of falling out with those who meant him well. Rousseau set such high standards for friendship that he was better off alone; by his 50’s the hypersensitivity …

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The Chick Lit Teapot*

Meghan McCarron weighs in on the chick lit = tempest making the rounds (again) this week: The arguement, as well as I can parse it, goes, "Lots of women in the 19th century wrote a lot of popular but forgettable novels that society decried, and a tantalizingly similar thing is going on now. The 19th …

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All Hallow’s Books

BookWorld is full of spooktastic and Halloweeny reviews this week. Michael Dirda looks at a new translation of Borges’ The Book of Imaginary Beings (from which that illo comes): Anyone who falls under the spell of The Book of Imaginary Beings should look out for several comparable (or complementary) works. Above all, don’t miss T.H. …

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The Real Competition

I kid; however, the YA books are the only ones I’ve a prayer of reading AND tend to get overlooked (plus, last year, Pete Hautman’s Godless rocked the house) so from the New York Times: The finalists for the award in young people’s literature include a first-time novelist, Jeanne Birdsall, for "The Penderwicks" (Knopf), a …

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FITT Alert

Anne at the Vertical blog is back with a fabulous new edition of the Finger In The Throat (FITT) report, this time tearing into Marlon Brando’s posthumous novel Fan Tan (written with the help of Donald Cammell). It hurts so good: Then, there’s the way Asian men look, very important, of course: "In many Chinese …

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She Got Game: Twins

Marcy Dermansky‘s Twins is never quite what you think. At first, I worried that I was reading the literary equivalent of Thirteen. There is a voyeuristic feeling that pervades much of the book, something which almost but not quite makes for an uncomfortable sensation while reading (do I even like this? I thought at first, …

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