Books & Fiction

New Fiction: Arnie Blank

Sam Chapin

Hayato wasn’t sure what he said but could tell that Ralph was frustrated so he rejoined the group. As he walked, Hayato looked at the city through his camera, tripping over the cracks and curbs in his path.  He spotted an old building with giant metal decals and a metal roof and lingered with his camera. He zoomed in and slowly panned down the building, noticing how it gradually got fatter as he made his way down. He got to the twentieth floor and stopped. There was a baby in the window. He watched as it crawled out on the ledge. 

Julian Barnes Embarks on Literary Analysis of Influential, International Writers

Lee Polevoi

Julian Barnes knows France—its culture, cuisine, topography—and its curious relationship to England. In an earlier book, Something to Declare, and in his new collection, Through the Window, France and the French are either in the forefront or background of many of these witty, piercing and erudite essays. Whether he’s tracing the influence of the French countryside on Ford Madox Ford, analyzing the complexities of translation or offering a fresh look at Rudyard Kipling, Barnes delivers valuable insights into a culture and people who have risen above the desperate inequities of the past century:

Literary Flashback: Reading ‘What Is the What’

Kimberly Tolleson

What is the What is a story of just one of the thousands of the Lost Boys, a group of refugees who escaped their hometowns on foot during the Second Sudanese Civil War starting in the 1980s. Almost every one of them young and orphaned, these boys walked from their destroyed homes in South Sudan through unbearable circumstances. Every day the group lost more children to hunger, disease, enemy fire, even lions and crocodiles, all while gaining more displaced boys along the way. Those who survived the 800-mile journey weren’t met with a much better situation once they reached their destination, a refugee camp in Ethiopia. 

An Exploration of Venice Through Photographs

Sam Chapin

The streets of Paris are lined with cafes and museums. In Rome, you’ll find roads that predate Julius Caesar. But only Venice has streets of water. In his new photography collection, Monumental Venice, Jacques Boulay aims to capture the essence of a city that’s unlike any other. Through huge, panoramic landscapes and intimate, contained portraits, Boulay seeks out (and finds) what makes Venice Venice.

London Calling: Celebrating the City’s Street Photography

Christopher Moraff

Suschitzky's photograph is one of 150 London street photos featured in the book London Street Photography 1860-2010 which was published in the U.K. last year to compliment a touring exhibit of the same name. The exhibit closed last month at the Museum of the City of New York, but the book is still available through Dewi Lewis Publishing. The collection features more than 70 photographers and spans three centuries – from the industrial revolution to the dawn of the information age – offering a glimpse of modern British history through the microcosm of life on its streets and avenues. 

Reading the Prophecies of the Late, Great Henry Miller

Steven J. Chandler

As America has grown economically, so has the relevance of Miller’s writing. He predicted that the proliferation of skyscrapers and warships would come at the expense of America’s poor. His novels remind us that, even if the Mayans do spare us on the 21st of December (the end of their long count calendar cycle and the date some theorists have predicted as the end of the world), America will not have made it through unscathed. By writing with absolute honesty, Miller’s prose read like prophecy, for he revealed to the world an unstoppable process of cold-blooded capitalism which could only have resulted in the America of today. 

The Best Books of 2012 (and Honorable Mentions)

Lee Polevoi

Each new book by Martin Amis seems to trigger a media frenzy involving sensational details from his past. By now (Lionel Asbo is his 13th novel), this frenzy serves not to enlighten but to distract from the work itself. In that respect, Amis remains one of the most consistently interesting and—on a purely sentence-by-sentence level—one of the best writers around. Language is his true dominion, a manic, bubbling and light-footed style that depends as much on the reader’s ability to keep up as on its own hard-earned effects. 

Neil Landau on the Art of Screenwriting

Christopher Karr

This is the kind of practical, well-articulated knowledge you can find in The Screenwriter's Roadmap. It's organized into 21 chapters that each focus on an essential aspect of the writing and re-writing process. Each chapter also includes a corresponding interview with a screenwriter currently in the business. The guidebook is clear, well-organized, and sometimes painfully academic and overly analytical. This is a common attribute of all screenwriting guidebooks, but Landau's prose is, at times, more readable than Field and McKee. 

How the Publishing World Acclimated to the Digital Revolution (Part 1)

Gerry LaFemina

Like the record industry before it, the publishing industry is changing dramatically.  Of the Big Seven publishers (Random House, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group (Little, Brown & Co, et al), and Scholastic), six of them–all but Scholastic– have proven to be too big to change their business strategy in a rapidly changing marketplace. The culprit was a combination of the predatory sales practices of online retailers (particularly Amazon.com) and changes in the media (MP3s in the case of the music industry; ebooks in the case of the book industry).

New Book Explores the Rich History of Mayan Culture

Snapper S. Ploen

The advent of 2012 has brought with it much discussion of the ancient Mayan people of Central America and, predominantly, their “apocalyptic” calendar. However, this sudden pop culture interest would better serve as a place to launch a far more in-depth look at a civilization that was flourishing when Europe was enduring its Dark Ages. Royal Cities of the Ancient Maya, a recently published work by literary co-pilots Michael D. Coe (text) and Barry Brukoff (photography) and currently available from Vendome Press (NY), presents readers with this most fortunate opportunity. 

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