There have been enough essays on the death of book reading, but have there been enough words devoted to discussing the decline of book reviewing? In the last decade or so—yes, indeed, as we've all wrestled with how the internet influences everything we do, including reading, writing, and writing about books (Tolstoy LOL tl;dr). But while the words "book-review" made its first print appearance as a headline in 1861 to just that—a review of a book titled How to Talk: A Pocket of Speaking, Conversation, and Debating (verdict: "The present work has the additional recommendation of an unmistakably useful subject, which is lucidly treated")—the practice of criticizing the critics [...]
“In competitive synchronized swimming, it’s about face and arms. As a performer, it’s more about feet. We tell them to imagine that at the end of their feet sticking out of the water is a telescope, and then tell them to make their feet act like they are surprised to be there, little by little, and finally, happy to see each other. We ask them to express happiness and sadness with their feet.” —Two-time Olympian Maurizia Cecconi, on training synchronized swimmers for the Cirque du Soleil production, "O," at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
Janet Maslin pans Joshua Ferris' new novel The Unnamed in the Times today, citing "authorial overkill" and "writerly preciousness" as reasons. She lost authority on the subject, however, in her very first sentence, when she dismissed Ferris' first book, Then We Came To the End, as "charming but weightless." That makes me think she may not have read Then We Came To the End very closely. Or at least not closely enough in the beautiful and powerful central chapter, where we follow a lonely, career-minded advertising executive facing a diagnosis of breast cancer with the support of her commitment-averse boyfriend-who breaks up with her a few days before [...]