As the calendar year nears the end, media book departments have one goal in common: to produce lists of books to give as gifts and for one's own reading pleasure. Piles of books, endless lists, captions, the mad rush to meet deadlines ... ah, I remember it well (too well!). Not to be outdone by the mighty moguls of literature-dom, Call of the Siren will be providing you with reviews and interviews this month on the following fantastic titles:
The Camellia Resistance: A.R. Williams' novel of a dystopian future presents a vision of a world in which physical intimacy is imperiled by biological and political agents. Dystopia is such a well-plowed (over-plowed?) field, and yet Williams gives us a scenario that's uniquely, thrillingly her own.
The Eighth Day: It's not always possible to have enough time to read a novel, but there's always time to savor a good poem, especially those in Geoffrey Hartman's new selection. Take five minutes -- or even just two -- to clear your mental palate with the songs and observations of this superior lyric voice.
xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths: It isn't the myths that are new in this anthology edited by Kate Bernheimer, it's their retelling/reimagining by some of the best contemporary writers around that's exhilarating and intriguing. In their hands, old myths are anything but old news.
The Art of Youth: In his latest study of artists, novelist/critic/essayist Nicholas Delbanco investigates the springs of creativity in three individuals -- Stephen Crane, Dora Carrington, George Gershwin -- who achieved so much in so short a span of time.
One of the great joys of no longer belonging to one of those large media outlets is freedom. I can pick only the books that are worthy of attention, only the books that speak to me. To have that kind of flexibility is a real gift during the holidays and at any time of year! Stay tuned, my friends.
- A.R. Williams at Entropy: The Other Constant
- Geoffrey Hartman interview at Yale Daily News