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 Matthew Trammell is not like a piece by James Wood, and neither is like a piece by Peter Schjeldahl. One could not mistake Finnegan for Frazier, or Lepore for Paumgarten, or Goodyear for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Favorite Books of 2016

Illustration by Laurent Cilluffo

Here are my three favorite books of 2016:

Ian Frazier’s Hogs Wild – A wonderful collection of Frazier’s reporting pieces, including “Hungry Minds,” “Back to the Harbor,” “Form and Fungus,” “Hogs Wild,” “The March of the Strandbeests,” and “Blue Bloods.” In my opinion, Frazier is The New Yorker’s top writer. This is one of his best collections. See my posts here, here, and here.

Jill Lepore’s Joe Gould’s Teeth – A bravura piece of writing by one of The New Yorker’s finest stylists. It’s a revisionist portrait of the homeless Harvard-graduate Greenwich Village fixture, Joe Gould, subject of Joseph Mitchell’s famous “Professor Seagull” and “Joe Gould’s Secret.” See my post here.

Geoff Dyer’s White Sands – Contains, among other brilliant pieces, two travelogues – one on a trip that Dyer made to the site of Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field, near Quemado, New Mexico, and the other on a trip he made to see Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, at Great Salt Lake, Utah, both of which appeared in The New Yorker under the title “Poles Apart.” See my posts here and here.

No comments:

Post a Comment