#tobyreads: Lost Landscapes and Secret Societies

Last week’s column involved some talk of landscapes. At around that time, I’d been reading Walden for WORD’s Classics Book Group–in this case, the edition with annotations by Bill McKibben. This is, somewhat inexplicably, the first time I’ve read it; I am apparently a bad reader of the Transcendentalists. (Really need to work on that.) What struck me–among the things that struck me, really, as there were plenty–was how accessible it still felt. Some works written in the 19th century seem […]

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Reading “The UnAmericans” and Revisiting John McPhee’s “The Ransom of Russian Art”

There are many reasons to read The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol’s terrific debut collection; many of them are covered by Jason Diamond’s recent piece on the book. For me, one of the side benefits to reading it was through its invocation of another notable book: John McPhee’s The Ransom of Russian Art. McPhee’s book, first published in 1994, focuses on the curious life of Norton Dodge, an economist who, during the Cold War, smuggled numerous works of art out of the Soviet Union, […]

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#tobyreads: Lost Correspondence: Dispatches From Elena Ferrante, John McPhee, Harry Mathews, and Lawrence Weschler

Four books to cover today: two works of nonfiction and two novels, one of which is deeply rooted in reality and one of which is…not. At their core is a shared fondness for transmissions: letters sent from continent to continent; artists whose work clamors for revival (or may require a late-career boost); lifelong bonds that abruptly cease to exist. Whether the setting is post-war Italy or the Soviet Union on the cusp of its dissolution, these books evoke places on […]

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Morning Bites: Return to “Hemlock Grove,” Jon Cotner’s Recipes, the Morrison/Moore Feud, and More

The Grant Morrison/Alan Moore feud is rapidly becoming the stuff of legend. The New Yorker officially launched Double Take, a blog dedicated to unearthing treasures from the magazine’s archives. If these picks from the staff are any indication, we welcome the addition to our RSS feed. (As an aside: John McPhee’s articles always have the best keywords.) Jon Cotner talked family recipes. Emerging Writers Network on the latest issue of New York Tyrant. The first images have surfaced from Eli […]

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