Zadie Smith is the New Books reviewer at Harper's. I heart everything Zadie Smith.
Nicole Krauss, recently nominated for the National Book Award, discusses the architecture, inspiration, and process of writing Great House.
- I finished The Tiger's Wife a few days ago and have had my jaw on the floor since then. To say that it is stunning, doesn't quite explain it. To say that this is a certain international classic, gets closer. The novel hits bookstores March 8.
- Am now reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. I love her intimate-best-friend tone. I feel like she sent me a series of letters, with a corresponding recipe, about her life. A relaxing read that is a perfect inspiration to start cooking wonderfully delicious yummies.
- Also, sunk my teeth into Alison Light's Mrs. Woolf and the Servants. I finished watching Downton Abbey last week and find myself (once again) obsessed with a British great house narrative. The best part of the viewing experience was the final note: "The second season of Downton Abbey is in production." Can't happen soon enough. All this to say, that I am on a 'upstairs-downstairs' tick right now that Light's book will nicely complement.
Wizenberg's A Homemade Life
Light's Mrs. Woolf and the Servants
Daniels' Cleaning Nabokov's House
Massie's The Romanovs: The Final Chapter (because one can never, ever get too much of Russian history)
Quote of the week:
from Zadie Smith's conversation with Gemma Sieff (linked above)
"I think once you self-identify as a critic too seriously, all kinds of personal dangers of the ego, if I might put it that way, come into play. I think I’ve been guilty of them myself. You start to feel you need an overarching theory, which to me, when you’re being confronted with books, each of which is so different, which have completely different sensibilities—to approach them with an argument, with a decision, about what kind of prose you’re looking for, what kind of prose you believe in, is already disastrous. And also book reviewing in the everyday practice, the way Virginia Woolf did it, keeps you honest, and keeps you lively."