• August 14, 2018

    V.S. Naipaul

    The tributes to and remembrances of V.S. Naipaul—who died this weekend at the age of eighty-five—continue to pour in: At the New York Times, novelist Aatish Taseer remembers his friend as both cruel and tender; at the New Yorker, George Packer recalls reading Naipaul’s A Bend in the River while serving in the Peace Corps in West Africa, writing, “I came under the spell of his prose before I knew not to like him”; at the New York Review of Books Daily, Ian Buruma remembers the author’s “fastidiousness,” arguing, “It is tempting to see Naipaul as a blimpish figure, aping the manners of British bigots; or as a fussy Brahmin, unwilling to eat from the same plates as lower castes. Both views miss the mark.” At Slate, Isaac Chotiner recommends the best books by and about Naipaul. From the Bookforum archives: Allen Barra reviews a 2009 biography of Naipaul and Thomas Meaney considers the author’s 2010 book, The Masque of Africa.

    A report on the troubles at Barnes and Noble, where founder Leonard Riggio is increasingly under fire.

    At the LARB, Robert Abele remembers food critic Jonathan Gold, who died last month at age fifty-seven.

    At the Columbia Journalism Review, Mathew Ingram parses a recent report in The Australian in which a Facebook executive, Campbell Brown, said that Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t care” about traditional media publishing. Brown also reportedly said that if publishers didn’t work on new business models with the social media platform, “I’ll be holding your hand with your dying business, like in a hospice.” Facebook quickly denied that the quotes in the report were accurate, but Ingram writes that there is some truth to them: “The comments from Brown might have seemed like a veiled threat, but they could also have been just a statement of fact: If Facebook won’t provide the revenue or the traffic necessary for some outlets to survive, publishers might start going on life support.”

    Tonight at The Strand, MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer will discuss his new book, The Hard Stuff.