Friday December 11th, 2009

The Beat

A weekly roundup of noteworthy reviews from other sources.

f-dostGeordie Williamson reviews the recently published one-volume condensation of Joseph Frank’s massive biography of Dostoevsky. (“Far from burying the writer in detail, Frank’s immense knowledge of 19th-century Russia helps synchronize Dostoevsky with his times.”) . . . Speaking of condensation, Damion Searls has trimmed Thoreau’s two million-word journal to one volume. Geoff Wisner approves of the result. . . . Whether or not it’s “the best stocking stuffer ever for the bibliophile,” as Robert Messenger claims, a new book about architects and their libraries does look beautiful. . . . Of two recent books about basketball, Jason Zengerle writes that one “already feels a little dated” and the other “admirably reaches for timelessness.” He concludes that they each would have benefited from a bit of the other’s approach. . . . Michael Berry says Michael Crichton’s posthumously published novel is “a diverting coda to a remarkable popular writing career.”