No, you’re not imagining it. I am friendlier and more influential now.
I owe it all to Dale Carnegie, the failed actor from Missouri who discovered heNo, you’re not imagining it. I am friendlier and more influential now.
I owe it all to Dale Carnegie, the failed actor from Missouri who discovered he had a knack for jazzing up people’s confidence. His foundational work, “How to Win Friends & Influence People,” blasted off in 1936, but for anyone who wants a pill-sized dose of encouragement, a “mini abridged edition” is being released this week to celebrate the book’s 80th year.
You could call “How to Win Friends & Influence People” the grandfather of America’s self-help movement, except this grandfather is running circles around the rest of the industry, selling 300,000 copies last year. That was all news to me. Until recently, I had assumed Carnegie’s book was. . . .
It hardly seems fair that Americans must wait to grab a copy of Howard Jacobson’s new novel, “P---y.”
But let’s not get started on Things About DonaldIt hardly seems fair that Americans must wait to grab a copy of Howard Jacobson’s new novel, “P---y.”
But let’s not get started on Things About Donald Trump That Are Unfair, or we’ll be here all week.
Jacobson, the Man Booker Prize-winning author of “The Finkler Question,” started writing this ribald satire just hours after Trump won the presidential election, and within a few weeks his manuscript was already rushing to print. His fellow Brits can get the book on April 13, but those of us enduring the American carnage firsthand must wait till mid May. An extremely credible source tells me this is unpresidented!!!
Nevertheless, someone — no, not Susan Rice — sent me an early copy of “P---y,” and I moved on it like a b----. When you’re a book critic, they let you do it. You can do anything (except quote the president’s unfiltered words in a family newspaper).
This pairing of author and subject sounds divinely ordained: The world’s smartest comic novelist vs. a TV reality star who. . . .
When you wade into the ever-agitated waters of social media, you realize just how quickly the currents of infectious bile are flowing. Follow the tribWhen you wade into the ever-agitated waters of social media, you realize just how quickly the currents of infectious bile are flowing. Follow the tributaries of today’s political combat a few decades into the future and you might arrive at something as terrifying as Omar El Akkad’s debut novel, “American War.” Across these scarred pages rages the clash that many of us are anxiously speculating about in the Trump era: a nation riven by irreconcilable ideologies, alienated by entrenched suspicions. But in El Akkad’s dystopian vision, those differences have led, once again, to secession and internecine warfare.
The mainspring of this imagined future clash is not race and slavery, but science and the environment. We learn that as climate change ravaged the Earth, intelligent societies abandoned fossil fuels, but the South clung to its peculiar institution and kept pumping, excavating and burning. As El Akkad tells it, that act of rebellion called down the North’s. . . .
At a crucial moment in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby,” when Nick says, “You can’t repeat the past,” Gatsby instantly disagreesAt a crucial moment in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby,” when Nick says, “You can’t repeat the past,” Gatsby instantly disagrees: “ ‘Can’t repeat the past?’ he cried incredulously. ‘Why of course you can!’ ”
Whether you should is less clear. Various people — starting with Fitzgerald himself — have been borne back ceaselessly into the past, particularly by trying to repeat “The Great Gatsby.” Since it was published in 1925, the story has been adapted for radio and television, acted out on Broadway, jazzed up as a musical, spun into a ballet, sung as an opera, digitized into a computer game, reimagined in new novels, and, of course, dramatized in film, most recently in a garish blur by Baz Luhrmann that portrayed Nick recalling his experience from inside a mental hospital.
These efforts fail — dully or hilariously — because once Fitzgerald’s poetic language has been stripped away, “The Great Gatsby” is just a silly story about a misfit obsessed with a gangster who’s stalking his cousin. But seduced by the book’s enduring fame, writers and producers keep reanimating Frankensteinesque imitations of the Jazz Age masterpiece.
Crossing through that valley of ashes once again, we approach Stephanie Powell Watts’s debut novel with a mixture of wariness and dread. “No One Is Coming to Save Us” is billed as an African American version of “The Great Gatsby.” It doesn’t help that Christopher Scott Cherot’s movie “G” already attempted that color switch back in 2002. It helps even less to remember that some English professor caused a stir in 2000 by claiming that Jay Gatsby is actually a black. . . .
After watching a half-century of his legendary coolness, you either believe that 73-year-old Sam Shepard has the right stuff or you don’t. Aside fromAfter watching a half-century of his legendary coolness, you either believe that 73-year-old Sam Shepard has the right stuff or you don’t. Aside from his steely performance in dozens of movies and TV shows, he’s the author of almost 50 plays, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece, “Buried Child” (1979), which should be remembered as one of the greatest dramas of the 20th century. He’s got nothing more to prove.
And yet now, “The One Inside ” is being hyped as Shepard’s “first work of long fiction,” though it’s not particularly long nor entirely fictional. Fans of his short stories and autobiographical writings will hear echoes of. . . .
Had the pleasure of interviewing the editor, Ellen Oh, about this great new collection of stories for kids. To watch, go to The Washington Post FaceboHad the pleasure of interviewing the editor, Ellen Oh, about this great new collection of stories for kids. To watch, go to The Washington Post Facebook page:
Everybody lives differently in Colin Thubron’s new novel, but they all burn to death in the same way. “Night of Fire” is a collection of stories aboutEverybody lives differently in Colin Thubron’s new novel, but they all burn to death in the same way. “Night of Fire” is a collection of stories about the tenants in an old apartment building that’s consumed one evening while they sleep. Older or younger, loved or lonely, each of the victims initially ignores the pungent odor, awakens into smoldering confusion and then succumbs.
In that grim sense, “Night of Fire” may be the hottest novel of the year, but the real heat is generated by Thubron’s gorgeous prose and his reflections on the persistence of memory. Long celebrated for his travel writing — “Mirror to Damascus ” appeared 50 years ago — Thubron offers the kind of luxuriant sentences and philosophical ruminations that would feel antique if he weren’t so timelessly elegant. Having wandered the world, he presents a constellation of characters stuck in their rooms as the flames unmake them. Where, each story asks, does the. . . .
In an age when overexposure threatens to sap the magnitude of everything’s physical presence, the Eiffel Tower is one of those rare treasures that nevIn an age when overexposure threatens to sap the magnitude of everything’s physical presence, the Eiffel Tower is one of those rare treasures that never loses its power to awe. Constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, the iron lattice rose 1,000 feet into the sky, soaring past the Washington Monument to become, for decades, the tallest structure in the world. Guy de Maupassant called it a “giant and disgraceful skeleton,” and Léon Bloy dubbed it a “truly tragic lamppost,” but it nonetheless survived its intended 20-year life and then, toward the end of World War II, Hitler’s order to blow it up. Now it remains among the world’s most-visited monuments, still inspiring a blend of recognition and surprise.
There’s a little of both those qualities in “To Capture What We Cannot Keep,” Beatrice Colin’s historical novel about the construction of the Eiffel Tower. Even while telling a very intimate story, Colin attends to the extraordinary mechanics. . . .
In 1999, the South African writer J.M. Coetzee topped his already celebrated career by publishing “Disgrace,” an unforgettable novel that earned him aIn 1999, the South African writer J.M. Coetzee topped his already celebrated career by publishing “Disgrace,” an unforgettable novel that earned him a second Man Booker Prize — the first time anyone had done that. Four years later, he won the Nobel Prize in literature. But since then, his published fiction has strained mightily to repel any reader who might be interested.
Perhaps that’s as it should be. If you’re 77 years old, and you’ve collected every literary prize in the world, you ought to be able to write whatever you damn well please.
But caveat emptor.
“The Schooldays of Jesus,” Coetzee’s new novel, is a sequel to his equally enigmatic book “The Childhood of Jesus” (2013). You can be forgiven for assuming that these novels follow the life of, say. . . .