Friday, August 01, 2008
august in open letters!
Let the word go forth that the August 2008 issue of Open Letters Monthly is live and a thing of beauty! As usual, we have a bounty of intellectual goods on display, in a variety that will take your breath away! We have impressionable young freelancer Steve Brachmann telling you all about how Somerset Maugham's novel Of Human Bondage helped him steer his life through a rocky patch; we have Lianne Habinek exploring the relationship between legendary pianist Glenn Gould, his favorite piano, and the man who tried to keep them both in tune; we have Laura Tanenbaum reviewing a couple of new books about stupidity of the current American voter (not to be confused with those worshipful hordes in Oregon, as pictured above); Daniel Green takes us through James Wood's criteria for what does and does not constitute good fiction (the blurb for Green's piece refers to Wood as the world's most influential critic, a happy exaggeration we here at Stevereads will magnanimously pass over in silence!); Greg Waldmann makes some mighty big objections to Robert Kagan's mighty small new book; father and son freelance team Thurlow and Zack Truman relate the low point of Samuel Pepys' career; far-flung correspondent Bartolomeo Piccolomini tells us all about the navigation of Christopher Columbus; King Henry VII gets his turn in the sun in "A Year with the Tudors."
And this month Open Letters has something special for you all: the site's founding editors, Sam Sacks, John Cotter, and yours truly, have each turned in a review of Evan Connell's new collection of short stories, Lost in Uttar Pradesh. And true to Open Letters form, each of those pieces is not only a much broader look at Connell's work than just one book, and each of them wonderfully reflects the stylistic tri-corner hat that is that founding trio: Sam's is wonderfully dense with analysis of all the deeper issues, John's is dancingly alert to the glories of the prose itself, and mine harps on a couple of minor points and then mostly talks about me. The three pieces together form an unprecedented tribute to one of America's greatest living literary figures - if it doesn't make you want to go out and read Evan S. Connell, nothing will!
Add to all that a poem by Matt Klane, a playful issue-photo by Sven Vorkmeister (and people say my pseudonyms are transparent ...), and some eye-catching new graphics by Tom Hartley, and you have a literary confection fit for every aesthetic sweet tooth! So click on over and dig in - and as always, feel free to leave copious comments! Comments are the currency of the Web, and we're always looking to add to our stash!