ABOUT THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
From the longest-running, most influential book review in America, here is its best, funniest, strangest, and most memorable coverage over the past 125 years.
Since its first issue on October 10, 1896, The New York Times Book Review has brought the world of ideas to the reading public. It is the publication where authors have been made, and where readers first encountered the classics that have enriched their lives.
Now the editors have curated the Book Review’s dynamic 125-year history, which is essentially the story of modern American letters. Brimming with remarkable reportage and photography, this beautiful book collects interesting reviews, never-before-heard anecdotes about famous writers, and spicy letter exchanges. Here are the first takes on novels we now consider masterpieces, including a long-forgotten pan of Anne of Green Gables and a rave of Mrs. Dalloway, along with reviews and essays by Langston Hughes, Eudora Welty, James Baldwin, Nora Ephron, and more.
With scores of stunning vintage photographs, many of them sourced from the Times’s own archive, readers will discover how literary tastes have shifted through the years—and how the Book Review’s coverage has shaped so much of what we read today.
Listen to the first chapter of Virginia Woolf’s classic A Room of One’s Own, read by Natalie Dormer.
Download the full audiobook here: https://adbl.co/3grA9PY
A Room of One’s Own, based on a lecture given at Girton College Cambridge, is one of the great feminist polemics. Woolf’s blazing writing on female creativity, the role of the writer, and the silent fate of Shakespeare’s imaginary sister remains a powerful reminder of a woman’s need for financial independence and intellectual freedom. This Penguin Classic is performed by Natalie Dormer, best known for her standout role as Queen Margaery in Game of Thrones, as well as her roles in The Hunger Games and Captain America: The First Avenger.
Constantine Peter Cavafy was an Egyptiot Greek poet, journalist and civil servant. His consciously individual style earned him a place among the most important figures not only in Greek poetry, but in Western poetry as well. Cavafy wrote 155 poems, while dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form.
BY C. P. CAVAFYTRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
Discover the stages involved in creating a hand-printed and hand-bound book. This is an example of octavo size, meaning it’s made up of pages that were printed eight to a sheet of paper.
Video timeline: Process at the printers: Arranging metal letters: 00:09 Preparing type: 00:25 Applying ink to the type: 00:32 Pressing paper onto the inked type: 00:40 Process at the binders: Sheets folded and cut: 01:07 Folds hammered: 01:24 Sheets sewn onto bands: 01:28 Rounding the spine: 01:43 Attaching cover boards: 01:56 Clamping the book and trimming pages: 02:20 Endbands sewn: 02:29 Leather cover stuck on: 02:41 Decoration added with hot metal tools: 03:11
Get an inside look at Hemingway and discover why Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chose to explore the complex and iconic writer. Hemingway premieres April 5, 2021 on PBS.
Leonardo da Vinci lived between 1452-1519. He was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived. Performed by Chris Lines.
NPR’s Scott Simon reflects on the legacy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. The literary classic’s copyright expired on the first day of 2021.
The copyright on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby expired on the first stroke of 2021 and the book entered the public domain.
The classic 1925 novel of love foiled, ambitions foisted, class and betrayal sold fewer than 25,000 copies before Fitzgerald died. It has since sold nearly 30 million. I gave our daughter the copy I had in high school when she read it last year. The Great Gatsby has been turned into stage productions, an opera, five film versions, a Taylor Swift song and inspired innumerable prequels, spinoffs and variations.
In the public domain, Gatsby may now become even more familiar. Two new editions are about to come out and who knows what kind of projects — a Gatsby rom-com? Gatsby joins The Avengers? — might now get a green light, which recalls the imperishably eloquent last passage of the book: “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us.”
Gatsby’s Jazz Age Long Island may not look like a microcosm of contemporary America. Neither does Don Quixote, The Scarlet Letter, Macbeth or Their Eyes Were Watching God. We want young readers to be able to see themselves in stories; but literature can also show us that people we don’t think are much like us at all turn out to have some of the same heart, blood and dreams. That can be the power of empathy in art.
This week, we’re putting the focus on Nobel Prize-winning French author Albert Camus. As 2020 saw France mark 60 years since his death in a car crash, Camus’s seminal work “The Plague” was unexpectedly thrust back into the spotlight by the Covid-19 pandemic.
From the UK to Japan, the 1947 novel established itself as a global sensation, topping sales charts and pushing publishers into a rushed reprint. But Camus’s prolific and multi-faceted career extends far beyond this viral hit. We tell you more about the author’s life, starting with his humble beginnings in French-ruled Algeria.