I’ve discovered a wonderful magazine called bookmarks — for everyone who hasn’t read everything. I think that includes most of us and I was very happy to find reviews of both new and old books covering a wide range of interests. This July/August edition has two featured authors: Jo Walton (Welsh-Canadian) and Bryce Courtenay (Australian). Some of Jo’s most interesting works are about alternate histories, while Courtenay’s novels run from semi-autobiographical to “complex Dickensian tales of action and adversity.”
I was interested to see under their “new books guide” a review of Edward St. Aubyn’s recent misery memoir, Lost for Words: A Novel. (A feature article on St. Aubyn was done in the June 2nd issue of the New Yorker.) In this section, each book singled out for recognition has a brief plot summary, a critical summary, and quotes from reviews from at least 5 sources, usually including NY Times Book Review, The Washington Post, and sometimes, The Toronto Star (which I mention because I am Canadian). This section is divided by genre. They also review a new biography of Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) called The Little Girl Who Fought the Great Depression: Shirley Temple and 1930s America by John F. Kasson. Also, there is another new biography reviewed: Updike by Adam Begley. If you are an Updike fan or enjoyed the movie, Words and Pictures, (where Updike’s imagery is quoted frequently), you will want to check out this review in which Begley is described as being a reviewer/critic “who knows the body of John Updike’s work inside out” and Updike as “one of the most acclaimed and prolific American writers of the second half of the 20th century.” I’m adding both to my reading list!
There is a page of reviews of the Pulitzer winners for 2014 in the major fiction and non-fiction categories with a list of finalists after each and just before the back cover is The Year in Books, 1994. This issue also includes write-ups about favourite series and books coming out in paperback in July and August.
Editor Jon Phillips joins the fray in the ongoing battle between Amazon and French publishing house Hachette with a very even-handed assessment of the situation which should be of interest to readers and authors alike. (101 Books has had several blog posts on this topic which can also be accessed through my blog roll.) Letters to the editor seem to be carefully chosen and are published whether they be positive or negative.
The magazine offers a couple of ways for you to win a free year’s subscription. Each edition showcases a book club and if your club write-up is chosen, you get a free subscription. Or, write about your reading list (10 books) with a brief paragraph about each. You can check the magazine or online for the questions to answer for a book club article. You’ll recognize the magazine by its awesome Chad Gowey cover illustration. Go for it!