The anthology publication date is less than a month away! So that’s understandably preoccupying a lot of my time. But I’ve still managed to write about other things for other places as well in the last few weeks:
My latest “Crimewave” column for the National Post features reviews of new and recent books by Simone St. James, Sean Slater, and S. P. Hozy.
For Maclean’s, I reviewed J. Courtney Sullivan’s newest novel THE ENGAGEMENTS.
I wrote an essay for the Forward on my near two-decades of singing in choirs, why I’ve gotten to know a disproportionate number of churches, and Stacy Horn’s marvelous treatise on the joys of the chorus, IMPERFECT HARMONY.
Finally, my review of Boris Kachka’s HOTHOUSE, which was originally behind the paywall at Publishers Marketplace, has been reprinted at VQR Online for all to read, should they choose.
A few days ago Emily Witt’s profile for ELLE of Marisha Pessl and her second novel NIGHT FILM, which I liked quite a lot, was posted online. I didn’t see it till earlier today and was amused and perplexed to see that I had apparently “sneered” at Pessl in something I wrote on my now-defunct blog eight years ago.
Emily, whom I knew more when she still worked for the Observer, didn’t contact me for further clarification, but since web writing is supposed to stand alone I can accept that, having also likely characterized other people’s web writing a certain way for my pieces without asking for additional context. Still, the way the blog quote reads, it seems like she grabbed it from Dinitia Smith’s NY Times piece on Pessl in 2006, around the time SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS was published, instead of going back to the source, where the quote reads in full as follows, in a parenthetical that closes a satirical piece I wrote when Pessl’s book deal was announced in February 2005:
(Btw, for the humor-impaired, it’s not that I am mocking Ms. Pessl’s appearance or writing ability, just the publishing world’s almost masochistic desire to let attractive packages, so to speak, dictate their buying guidelines — even if the prospect of earning out is rather limited, to say the least.)
As it turns out, I’m fairly confident SPECIAL TOPICS did end up earning out, but at the the time, it seemed a reasonable prediction since tons of other high-six-figure book deals don’t. The moral of the story: apparently satire now means you’re sneering, instead of trying to lampoon particular human behavior. Who knew?
Dorothy Salisbury Davis, ca. 1956. The author photo for her fourth novel (her first mainstream work) MEN OF NO PROPERTY, taken by Lotte Jacobi.
" Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on me, I don’t mind, I’m the Cool Girl." — Gillian Flynn, GONE GIRL
Happy Birthday Dorothy Kilgallen (July 3, 1913 - November 8, 1965)
A day late, but it’s never too late to celebrate the centennial of one of the most original and daring American journalists and personalities. Happy belated birthday, Dorothy.