Tuesday December 8th, 2009

In the Ether

vasilyChris Hedges discusses two approaches to war writing; he “detests” one of them, and thinks the other, represented by Vasily Grossman’s novel Life and Fate, allows for powerful insights that “elude even very talented nonfiction writers.” (Pictured at left: Grossman in Germany, 1945.) . . . A wide range of answers to “What is the best book you know that’s never been translated into English?” And the reason why the question is important. . . . A profile of and interview with 90-year-old literary critic Frank Kermode. (”It’s pure chance,” he says, “that one isn’t either dead or useless; I don’t think either of those things is true, yet, of me.”) . . . A new store in Illinois is selling books by the pound. . . . Scott Pack has begun counting down the ten best books he read this year (doesn’t matter when they were published), and numbers 10 and 9 are two intriguingly quirky short novels: One about a man who marries a superhero and then is made (literally) invisible to her by a jealous ex; and the other about an unwanted visitor who breaks into someone’s house and hosts a party there, written by a former member of The Sugarcubes. . . . One man’s idea of Philip Larkin’s best 94 poems, ranked.