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Cover Image of L'Alchimiste by Paul Coelho published by French and European Publishing, Inc.
Cover Image of A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs published by St. Martin's Press
Cover Image of Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf published by Harvest Books
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NYRB Is Having A Sale

abstract:The New York Review of Books (NYRB) is moving offices from their current location to Hudson Street in Greenwich Village. Take advantage of the 40%-60% discounts on excellent titles not often available at these prices. Sale ends March 9th. Just browsing the list of fiction, translated fiction, essays and criticism along with other genres, I have pulled a few titles from my own shopping list. Aside from personal reading interests, it's always nice to have a few extra books on hand for gift occasions in the coming months; these are books suitable for most everyone. Learn more about this important literary and publishing force in America.


February 26, 2008

Creative Vision: The Making Of

"Barbara Epstein, along with Jason Epstein, Robert Silvers, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Hardwick, founded The New York Review of Books during the long news blackout of the New York publishing strike in 1963." writes jhederman of the NYRB. "This small group of friends," he continues, "created a new kind of magazine—one in which the most brilliant minds they could find would discuss current politics, books, art, and culture in depth. The first issue included pieces by Elizabeth Hardwick; Mary McCarthy; W.H. Auden; Robert Penn Warren; Norman Mailer; and Gore Vidal. The new magazine was immediately hailed as "of more cultural import than the opening of Lincoln Center" (The New Statesman). The New York Review has continued to be the magazine where the most important issues in American life are discussed by writers who are themselves major forces in world literature and thought."

The Editor's Editors

Ms. Epstein (1928-2006) and Mr. Silvers (1929- ) have served as the editors for over forty years. Sadly, Barbara died of lung cancer at the age of seventy-seven, and Bob, who continues in the trenches has also produced several important anthologies including: Writing in America, Thirty Years of the New York Review, Hidden Histories of Science, India: A Mosaic, Striking Terror: America’s New War, and The Company they Kept: Writers on Unforgettable Friendships.The annual Robert B. Silvers lectures at the New York Public Library were established by Max Palevsky in 2002 and have been given by Joan Didion, J. M. Coetzee, Ian Buruma, Michael Kimmelman and Daniel Mendelsohn. Go to the link and listen to the latest lecturer in which Silvers gives the introduction.

The book publishing arm of the NYRB has continued to produce beautifully understated books whose distinct style — that of a cover image with a title box at center — provides a consistency appealing to collectors. While one must keep an eye on the new books list, I particularly like their translated works, and their classic titles list. The website provides a wonderful synopsis of the book along with an excerpt, and in some cases, a reading group guide. It's a perfect source for book groups.

Ice (New York Review Books Classics), By Vladimir Sorokin
Translated from the Russian by Jamey Gambrell

The stylistic virtuoso and master of provocation who, in the words of The Moscow Times, is "the only living Russian author who can be called a classic."—nyrb

Moscow has been hit by a wave of brutal murders. The victims are of both sexes, from different backgrounds, and of all ages, but invariably blond and blue-eyed. They are found with their breastbones smashed in, their hearts crushed. There is no sign of any motive.
What is Ice? A gritty dispatch from the front lines of the contemporary world, a gnostic fairy tale, a hard-boiled parable, a New Age parody, a bitingly funny fantasy in the great Russian tradition that begins with Gogol and continues with Nabokov, a renegade fiction to set beside those of Philip K. Dick and Michel Houellebecq, and the most ambitious and accomplished novel yet by Vladimir Sorokin.—nyrb

Contempt (New York Review Books Classics), By Alberto Moravia
Translated from the Italian by Angus Davidson with Introduction by Tim Parks

Contempt is a brilliant and unsettling work by one of the revolutionary masters of modern European literature. All the qualities for which Alberto Moravia is justly famous—his cool clarity of expression, his exacting attention to psychological complexity and social pretension, his still-striking openness about sex—are evident in this story of a failing marriage. Contempt (which was to inspire Jean-Luc Godard's no-less-celebrated film) is an unflinching examination of desperation and self-deception in the emotional vacuum of modern consumer society.—nyrb

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (New York Review Books Classics) By Peter Handke
Translated from the German by Ralph Manheim with an Introduction by Jeffrey Eugenides

Peter Handke's mother was an invisible woman. Throughout her life—which spanned the Nazi era, the war, and the postwar consumer economy—she struggled to maintain appearances, only to arrive at a terrible recognition: "I'm not human any more." Not long after, she killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills.
In A Sorrow Beyond Dreams her son sits down to record what he knows, or thinks he knows, about his mother's life and death before, in his words, "the dull speechlessness—the extreme speechlessness" of grief takes hold forever. And yet the experience of speechlessness, as it marks both suffering and love, lies at the heart of Handke's brief but unforgettable elegy. This austere, scrupulous, and deeply moving book is one of the finest achievements of a great contemporary writer.—nyrb



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