Remainders

  • Jonathan Yardley calls Mark Edmundson’s Why Read? “an encomium to literature and reading, a passionate argument that literature ‘is the major cultural source of vital options for those who find that their lives fall short of their highest hopes,’ and that ‘the purpose of a liberal arts education is to give people an enhanced opportunity to decide how they should live their lives,'” but says in the end the argument is just another form of consumerism.
  • File under self-fulfilling prophecy?: publishers are turning from fiction to nonfiction, even though fiction still sells, because that’s what the public wants.
  • Caryn James says the new film adaptation of Vanity Fair “remains essentially true to the setting of William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1848 novel, [but] also offers a Becky Sharp for today, a 19th-century heroine who appeals to contemporary attitudes about class, ambition and women fending for themselves.”
  • Robert McCrum reviews P.G. Wodehouse’s deeply ambivalent relationship to the American motion picture industry.
  • A defense (defence, actually) of narrative over character.
  • Says Dan Green: “If you want more evidence of how debased and contemptible book publishing in America has become, read this article on ‘business books.'”

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