Issue of October 16, 2011

We have books, lots of books. Some in lists, some individually, some by cover. But they are all great, and we look forward to sharing them with you.

Even the most experienced reviewers can have a run of bad luck. When that happens, says Pete Croatto, the only thing to do is go back to “batting practice”—which he does here with three short, but effective reviews that show his reviewer’s swing is still sharp in Batting Practice.

Behind a favorite line of T.S. Eliot’s, “All shall be well, and/All manner of thing shall be well,” is the voice of the strange and compelling English religious mystic Dame Julian of Norwich—a woman who defied the usual roles for her time. At least that is what Lev Raphael thinks, as he reviews a new biography of Dame Julian in Medieval Enigma.

What are ten things you love about books? What books best illustrate those ten things? Gillian Polack has her own list (which she cheerfully admits could have been “a hundred, or a thousand.”) In fact, she cheats, because her booklist at the end of Lists of Ten—Again has a lot more than ten books on it!

The recent recorded conversations of Jacqueline Kennedy and the historian Arthur Scheslinger during the Kennedy White House years has Carl Rollyson ruminating in A Breed Like No Other on how vital it is, when doing biography, to have the right person asking the questions.

When a box of books was left on her doorstep last week, Lauren Roberts found gold. And silver. A new series of specially-designed books from Penguin Classics, elegantly designed in soft metallic colors, is out. And worth buying, she says, in The Companionship of Art and Writing.

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