Reading correspondence is not quite the same as reading a novel, obviously, but it can be just as valuable when it comes to understanding a writer, their work, literature of the period, or the general customs of the time period. Writers writing about writing can be a very enlightening read. This is a review of Letters to a Young Poet.
This is a book that primarily about people and about parties, with descriptions of them that are at once acidic and amusing, and can also be seen as an extensive critique of English society at this moment in history. This is a review of Elias Canetti’s Party in the Blitz (Party im Blitz).
It might seem strange, and I’m sure it’s not a preference that many people share, but sometimes when I feel my worst — very anxious, very depressed, very not well — and can’t sleep, scary stories are what I turn to. There’s something about ghosts, goblins, vampires, and spooky houses in settings a hundred and fifty years old that draws me out of the racing thoughts my brain gets stuck in. This is a review of Horror Stories.
This play is not just about politics. It tells the story of a personal revolution in the character of Wilhelm Tell himself. This is a review of Friedrich von Schiller’s Wilhelm Tell.
In some modernist novels that I’ve read, I’ve noticed a particular trade-off that sometimes happens between form and narrative. I was pleased to see that Arno Schmidt is a writer that can perform the delicate balancing act without leaving the narrative behind to do so. This is a review of Nobodaddy’s Children.
I’m going to admit it right off the bat, Doctor Faustus is not an easy read. For the first three hundred pages it is a difficult slog up an impossible mountain that one cannot see the peak of. This a review of Thomas Mann’s magnum opus.
One of the first things you should know about the wide world of antiquarian and rare books is that, though they may be used, they will not necessarily be cheap. This is a review of Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship.
I’ve never really been one for poetry when it comes down to it. Occasionally there are exceptions to this rule. I enjoy Pushkin and Tennyson, but it’s rare that verses move me the way that novels do. This is a review of The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.
December was busy. Far, far busier than even the holiday season had a right to be and more disturbingly, there was the feeling of endings in the air. This is a review of Günter Grass’ The Tin Drum.