I have been meaning to post a list of literary links, and since I accidentally deleted a whole sheet tonight, I’d better post what I’ve got. Enjoy!
1. In the Spectator, D. J. Taylor has reviewed Ann Allestree’s new biography, Barbara Pym: a Passionate Force. Taylor says that the rejection in the 1960s of her novel A Suitable Attachment was devastating to Pym. (It was published posthumously.) He writes,
There seems little doubt that this throwing over was the great trauma of Pym’s life, far more upsetting to her than the various relationships that punctuated her half-century of wistful spinsterdom, and a kind of King Charles’s Head to which she infallibly reverted in conversations with dinner guests or letters to literary chums.
I love all of Pym, but An Unsuitable Attachment was not her best novel. ( I wrote about it at my old blog.) I am also a fan of Taylor, and blogged here about his excellent new collection of short stories, Wrote for Luck (published by the small press that published the Bailey Women’s Prize winner Elmear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing).
2. Fans of Dickens will be interested to know that Nicholas Dames at The Atlantic recommends Stephen Jarvis’s Death and Mr. Pickwick, a novel that explores the relationship of Dickens and the illustrator Robert Seymour, who committed suicide. Seymour was collaborating with Dickens on The Pickwick Papers. (I haven’t read The Pickwick Paper so this book is not for me–yet.)
3. Susanna Rustin wonders at The Guardian if literary festivals are getting too big. Some events are too large and too expensive events.
It can be brilliant simply to see up close the authors whose work you admire or love – appearances from Don DeLillo and Toni Morrison from years ago are still fresh in my mind. Readings by poets, novelists, or comedians and actors who are also writers, can also be dramatic performances, as Charles Dickens’s famously were. I’ve also come away from expensive, ticketed events infuriated by chairs who appeared more interested in their own opinions than in the audience…
4. Here is a list of books published by the great Common Reader catalogue before it went out of business in 2006.
5. Are you an Outlander fan? At She Reads, the novelist Ariel Lawhon writes about her passion for Diana Gabaldon.