A new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out. From n+1, as Brooklyn has changed, so has the gentrification novel, and today's writers are more likely to romanticize grimy dive bars than cornice moldings; still, taste continues to be presented as the force that defines city life. A review of Out of the Blue: September 11 and the Novel by Kristiaan Versluys. A review of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor by Brad Gooch (and more; and more by Wendy Lesser at Bookforum). From LRB, a review essay on Guy de Maupassant. Grime and punishment: Four new literary stars expose the corruption and sleaze of modern-day life in Russia. A review of The Feminism of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Sexualities, Histories, Progressivism by Judith A. Allen. When we read fiction, we also can’t help “reading” the author at the same time. The final cut: Raymond Carver and Ernest Hemingway are both celebrated for their brutal minimalism — but how much do they owe their renown to the interventions of their editors? Chick lit offers fully rounded heroines for fully rounded women. From TLS, an article on the precious Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the precocious, outstanding, gifted poet and frustrated conservative who sought to escape his Jewish roots; and one of our greatest war poets: A look at the impetuous life and free-ranging work of Lynette Roberts. Annuals of crime: A review of Best American Mystery Stories 2009. Critics take a second look at Francoise Sagan, whose Bonjour Tristesse, written when she was just 17, was a literary sensation worldwide. A look at 5 authors more badass than the badass character they created.
From The Nation, Malcolm Gladwell's success as a brand-name thinker rests on the assumption that the unexamined life is the only sort his readers could be living. How many words do you see in a day, or has the "link economy" reached the point where news sites produce information overload rather than managing it? We shouldn’t underestimate the short-term self — sometimes the long-term self should stay out of its way. Richard Burton travelled the globe, charted its cultures — and sometimes infiltrated them with disguises. Odds are Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger meant to deliver more than one message in a recent veto to the state Legislature, mathematicians say (and more). Dark Roasted Blend takes a look at weird stuff McDonald's sells around the world. Terrorist organizations have to spread their ideology somehow — enter the strange, fascinating world of al-Qaeda’s magazines. Doug McGill on the Politico Paradox: Feeding the media we hate. From The New York Times Magazine, an article on the Obamas’ marriage: It’s modern, it’s a formidable brand, and it’s a continuing negotiation between two strong-minded individuals. Stefana Broadbent on how the Internet enables intimacy. A hunt through nation's attics: The 241-year-old reference authority Encyclopaedia Britannica is looking for the oldest complete set in private hands. Death to receipts: How can we trash them? The Gomboc, which started out as a question in the mind of a mathematician, not only exists in the abstract, but also in nature. Research suggests human facial expressions aren't universal. More and more and more and more on John Ortved's The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History.
A review of The Creation and Destruction of Value: The Globalization Cycle by Professor Harold James and This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (and more and more). A review of The Murder of Lehman Brothers: An Insider’s Look at the Global Meltdown by Joseph Tibman and A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Incredible Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers by Larry McDonald (and more at Bookforum). How mistaken ideas helped to bring the economy down: A review of Wall Street Revalued: Imperfect Markets and Inept Central Bankers by Andrew Smithers. Eliot Spitzer on how the Angelides Commission can crack open the Wall Street scandal — if it dares. Steven Pearlstein on a Wall Street fairy tale that doesn't have a happy ending. We've bailed out the banks — when do we go after the crooks behind our financial collapse? Daniel Gross on why Wall Street bonuses won't go away (and more on Wall Street pay days). Why bankers are like bacteria: Financial regulators could learn a thing or two from humble micro-organisms and the scientists who study them. James Surowiecki on why banks stay big: Success feeds on itself. A review of Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin (and more and more). The myth of too big to fail: When it comes to banking, size isn't the only thing that matters. Now the dust has settled on the collapse of the banking industry, William Dixon looks back at some crisis bestsellers and finds their limit in a lack of systemic analysis and insistence on reform (and from New York, here's a financial-crisis lit cheat sheet).
Laura Valentini (Oxford): Coercion and (Global) Justice: Towards a Unified Framework; and Justice and Assistance: Three Approaches and a Fourth One. From TLS, a review of Rebuilding War-Torn States: The Challenge of Post-Conflict Economic Reconstruction by Graciana del Castillo and The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly by Jean-Francois Bayart; and the rules of the game: Does the diplomat's guidebook need an update? From Contemporary Review, an article on the global gun culture. From Policy Innovation, a debate on the arbitrary morality of immigration and citizenship; and Julie Michaelson on The Happy Planet Index: A guide to real progress (and more on the (un)Happy Planet Index 2.0). A panel on Smallpox—the Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer by D.A. Henderson. A review of The Unheard Truth: Poverty and Human Rights by Irene Khan with David Petrasek. How prosperous are we? The Legatum Institute's Prosperity Index goes a long way toward addressing shortcomings in other measurements of people’s well-being around the world. An article on the science of hunger: What 1 billion people feel. An interview with Matthew Bishop, author of Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World. Think "brain drain" again: The movement of skilled workers from poor countries to rich ones is nothing to fear. In the long run, it will benefit both. Charles Kenny on why TV, not Facebook or Twitter, is going to revolutionize the world. Dollars Without Borders: Can the global flow of remittances survive the crisis? Samuel Brittan on how worse evils exist than corruption.