Issue of July 29, 2012

Take a dip into our buffet of columns this week to discover the surprising need that personal memoirs will hold for our collective future, for a review of two excellent short story collections, and for one answer to the ongoing question about reviews’ impact on books.

The consumer market for memoirs can be an iffy one, but the need for them, especially as personal letters and other intimate correspondence gives way to e-mail, is acute. Guest columnist Janet Reid ponders the growing importance of memoirs as written records of how we live in the editor’s letter: Memories, Lighting the Corners of Minds.

Do book reviews spoil reading? Though she frames the question differently, Nicki Leone explores that question in What Does It Take to Spoil a Book? by noting that a worthy review is “harder than you’d think, being absolutely honest in your opinion of a book, and completely thorough in your assessment even to the point of ‘spoiling’ it when necessary.”

Delving further into a genre she has avoided in the past, short stories, Katherine Hauswirth finds two collections where the authors “imbue something deeper into turns of events that we can imagine, but for which we might very well miss the point had they unfolded before us” in Mystic Shorthand.

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