Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers - Janet Malcolm and Ian Frazier

These witty, expressive essays track a decades-long quest to capture the essence of painters, writers, critics, and artists of all description. In Forty-One False Starts (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27), acclaimed academic and writer Janet Malcolm investigates the subtle interactions among life, art, influence, and the art of biography itself. Reflective and informed, each piece muses on the role of the critic, the subjectivity of history and taste, and considers how these evolve over time. Malcolm tackles Edward Weston’s nudes, Edith Wharton’s fiction, Thomas Struth’s photography, Salinger’s prose, and many other artists and their work. In his introduction, Ian Frazier describes his New Yorker colleague’s writing as the “highest level of literature”; and, indeed, the essays are beautifully composed and reminiscent of fiction in their construction, their lyricism, and the thought-provoking weave of the tales.

Forty-one False Starts: Essays on Artists and Writers By Janet Malcolm, Ian Frazier (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Janet Malcolm, Ian Frazier (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780374534585
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Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 13th, 2014

Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish - David Rakoff

David Rakoff, essayist, journalist, and frequent NPR contributor, died of cancer this past August at the age of forty-seven. But he was able to complete this extraordinary novel, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish (Doubleday, $26.95)—and this isn’t just a run-of the-mill narrative, it’s a series of interconnected stories written entirely in verse. This may sound gimmicky, but Rakoff is brilliant with rhymes, using their echoes and rhythms to enhance his interesting and emotionally complex stories. You might think this accomplished writer of prose would have to go through awkward literary gymnastics to make the lines rhyme and keep the stories moving, but Rakoff is such a solid, flexible writer, you’ll smile at how he makes it all work so beautifully. As the title suggests, the book is about love, exploring the way even small acts of kindness can transcend time. Short and economical with its words, the book asks to be read twice, once for the story and a second time for the language.
Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish: A Novel By David Rakoff Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385535212
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday - July 16th, 2013

A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home - Sue Halpern

This remarkable book, A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Life Lessons From an Unlikely Teacher (Riverhead, $26.95), by Sue Halpern, writer and editor at The New York Review of Books, tells the story of how Halpern and her six-year-old dog, Pransky, become a therapy team at a county-run facility for the elderly near their home in Vermont. The writer, whose previous books have explored the brain’s connections to aging and memory, among other topics, frames this story through her experiences of the seven life virtues while she and Pransky form extraordinary relationships with residents at the home. Pransky is the star of this deeply touching and humane book, and it is through the dog that the author offers a provocative and brilliant examination of what really matters in life and how we might find grace, happiness, and humor while dealing with the real challenges of growing older.

A Dog Walks Into a Nursing Home: Lessons in the Good Life from an Unlikely Teacher By Sue Halpern Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594632693
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - May 6th, 2014