Recent Books

A Writer's Room

Thomas Fasano is an old-fashioned guy, stepping into his home office is like stepping back in time, perhaps like visiting an old C.P.A. who still uses ledgers and adding machines. The office is in the back of the home where he has lived with his wife, Sandy, for the past eleven years. Among his most cherished items are a wooden desk (he built it himself from his own design), a wooden file cabinet, an antique typewriter table with an IBM Selectric II typewriter sitting atop it, several wooden bookcases (he built these too), and a huge corkboard on which he outlines his writing by pinning and arranging index cards. . . . Read More »

Which books will never be on your shelves?

There’s a particular pleasure to be had in browsing someone else’s bookshelves – the smile of recognition when you spot a much-loved novel, the mild bemusement in finding an enthusiasm for an author you can’t stand, the warm glow of discovering a taste in books that resembles your own. Gazing at the shelves of a new acquaintance, flicking through an old friend’s stack of paperbacks, we feel a little closer, a little more . . . Read More »

Kerouac's On the Road followed on the road via Google Maps

“The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great, that I thought I was in a dream,” wrote Jack Kerouac, famously, in On the Road. “Head northwest on W 47th St toward 7th Ave. Take the 1st left onto 7th Ave. Turn right onto W 39th St,” writes Gregor Weichbrodt, less poetically but more accurately, in On the Road for 17527 Miles, a new book tracing the Beat writer’s famous journey across America – with the aid of Google Maps. . . . Read More »

Does digital publishing mean the death of the author?

What’s the difference between making money out of books and writing books that people want to buy? Turns out it’s about 40% – if, that is, you believe this year’s Digital Book World (DBW) survey. Only 20% of the 1,600 self-published authors surveyed, and just a quarter of the almost 800 writers with a traditional book deal, judged it “extremely important” to “make money writing books”. Shift the issue to publishing “a book that people will buy” and the figures leap to 56% and 60% respectively. . . . Read More »

Impromptus: Selected Poems by Gottfried Benn – review

“And here he cited Benn, Ernst Jünger,” declares the narrator of Geoffrey Hill’s The Triumph of Love in a discussion of “creative nihilism, Götterdämmerung’s toy theatre.” It is not the first time Gottfried Benn (1886–1956) has been on Hill’s mind in recent times. Having praised Simone Weil on poetry and politics in “A Postscript on Modernist Poetics”, Hill attacks TS Eliot’s “inane” treatment of Benn in “The Three Voices of Poetry”, an essay whose glossing over the German’s Nazi sympathies strikes Hill as an exercise in emollient humbug. . . . Read More »