Matt Seidel being very clever about book reviewing:
Excellent article by Charles Finch on how James Wood indirectly drove him to improve his novel. Like Finch, I wasn’t blown away by How Fiction Works, however much I rate Wood’s deep diving literary analysis skills. Finch ponders both Wood’s weaknesses and his contribution to literature, the latter of which he identifies as a acute engagement with language as an marker for thought, expressed in the novel. Heady stuff.
Natalie Bakopoulos on how to separate the author’s life from the review. A measured, well-argued appeal to reserve one’s critical faculties for the workings of the novel being considered, rather than the weirdness in the life of the author. With some beautiful Auden and Toibin quotes to boot.
Michael Bourne, writing for The Millions, defends the Oprah bookclub. Changed my mind, for sure. Also pointed me in the direction of Ayana Mathis’ The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, which turned out to be a glorious read. Complex, sad and insightful.