Issue of July 17, 2011

I want to say “read away” because we have a truly wonderful issue of BiblioBuffet for you. This week you have the opportunity to learn how his subjects come to biographers; how history can work in fantasy; how one extraordinary man succeeded in life; how a character can take on a second life; and how travel can taste. We hope you enjoy it all.

How do biographers choose their subjects? It may be a common question, but it is a fascinating question for Carl Rollyson as he explores the journey he undertook from dissertation and an academic life to that of wide-ranging biographer of people as different as Marilyn Monroe and Lillian Hellman in Picking a Subject: Part One.

Can fantasy novels be based in history? Gillian Polack explores three new books that do use the backdrop of history for their stories yet, as she explores and explains, they “don’t focus on daily life nor even on the real politics of a place and time.” Rather, she finds “history is a backdrop for fantasy—with magic and daggers and death and gods and dragons” in Fiction and History Revisited.

Quiet politician, Rhodes scholar, superb athlete, extraordinary man. Pete Croatto looks backward in time to two first-rate books about Bill Bradley who “succeeded by being himself” in Extraordinarily Ordinary.

What do you do when an author you love writes something offensive? There’s always email, of course, but what if the author’s dead? Well, you can always write another book. That’s what Lev Raphael did in response to the anti-Semitism in The House of Mirth, and you may never look at her classic novel in the same way again in Solving My Edith Wharton Problem.

Heat does not a good companion make for Lauren Roberts. But good books always do, and this weekend she is using ice cream and D. H. Lawrence’s Sea and Sardinia to take her away from the heat in No Luggage Needed.

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