Introduction

What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Ben McGrath is not like a piece by Jill Lepore, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Goodyear, or Filkins for Khatchadourian, or Bilger for Paumgarten. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 16, 2013 Issue


Writing this blog, tracking my New Yorker reading experience, my effort is mainly one of appreciation. Even on those rare occasions when the magazine seems, at first glance, totally uninteresting, which is the case this week, I find there’s always something – a line, a detail, a note – that attracts my attention. In this week’s “Goings On About Town,” for instance, I saw, under “Jazz and Standards,” that “the whip-smart pianist Frank Kimbrough released a fine trio album recorded at this night spot [Jazz at Kitano].” I love piano jazz. I wasn’t aware of this particular Kimbrough album. I went online to iTunes and purchased several tracks, including Duke Ellington’s great “Single Petal of a Rose.” Kimbrough plays it exquisitely. It went straight onto my “Best of Piano Jazz” playlist. 

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