The Book of the Month: Sixty Years of Books in American Life

Al Silverman, Other Little Brown and Company $17.45 (335p) ISBN 978-0-316-10119-6
Published in celebration of BOMC's 60th anniversary, this is an attractive grab bag of literary snippets culled from the club's monthly bulletins. The arrangement, by decade, is somewhat haphazard, with authors turning up not always in connection with their best work but rather as they are chosen by the club. There are, however, some real rewards for the patient dipper among the ""reviews,'' brief portraits and interviews: Robert Penn Warren on William Styron, for instance, Paul Horgan on Thornton Wilder, Glenway Westcott on Katherine Ann Porter, a delightful self-interview by Gore Vidal that makes almost everything else in the book seem a shade stuffy, a model reply by Dorothy Canfield Fisher to an earnest mother who complained about allowing The Hucksters (a now forgotten club choice) into her home. One is struck by how sturdily Henry Seidel Canby's estimates stand up over the years, sometimes in opposition to other members of the board. Few depths are plumbed in the collection, and more difficult authorsGaddis, Pynchon, even Barthare notably absent, but it is ultimately rather comforting to see the continuity of urbane taste displayed over the decades. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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