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Graham Johnson’s Monumental Work on Schubert’s Lieder to Be Released Soon

Update: I first posted this in June, and the publication date has slipped back several times. Right now, it shows a release date of September 15, or tomorrow, so maybe we’ll see this set next week. Graham Johnson, the pianist behind Hyperion Record’s monumental series of Schubert’s complete lieder, is known for having a lot […]

The perils of a book critic

“What do we look for when we want to read? What should we be looking for? I look for wit, authenticity, soul, a strong narrative, good prose; you might not be interested in any of those things. The point is that reading is too important, too time-consuming and too demanding to drift into. Choose literary friends whose taste you trust and who know you well and critics you respect. And watch what’s lasting, too — in the end, the canon chooses itself.”

Novelist Nick Hornby has been reviewing books for a literary magazine called The Believer for about ten years. He writes about books he’s read, without paying attention to new releases. The article has some interesting thoughts about what it’s like to review books, and how he chooses the books he reads.

via The perils of a book critic | The Sunday Times.

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What makes Gormenghast a masterpiece?

“Why is it that the three books usually (and according to experts incorrectly) named the Gormenghast trilogy never achieved the level of success of that notable fantasy behemoth, The Lord of the Rings? I am not suggesting that the two works should be viewed as counterparts, and yet in very different ways they are two cornerstones of fantasy writing in the second half of the 20th century. One is universally known by anyone who’s ever become a reader; I’m lucky if I find one person who has even heard of the other in any given audience of two hundred or more.”

via What makes Gormenghast a masterpiece? | Marcus Sedgwick | Books | theguardian.com.

An interesting examination of this little-known series of “fantasy” novels. I recall trying to read Gormenghast a few decades ago. I think I read one and a half books then gave up. I do recall the intricately obsessive nature of the books, though, and perhaps it’s time to try them again. They’re available in one-volume editions; at 960 (UK edition) or 1160 (US edition) pages, they’re enough to keep one immersed for quite a while. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK)

And, I have a kitty named Titus (though he’s not named after Titus Groan, but Titus Andronicus).

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