Barbara King has to forget everything she thought she knew about Rick Steves after reviewing his new book Travel as a Political Act at Bookslut. Here’s a taste of her review:
The book is an eye-opener. Steves describes himself as a traveler and “a historian, Christian, husband, parent, carnivore, musician, capitalist, minimalist, member of NORML, and a workaholic.” The marijuana habit (I have discovered) has been headlined for a while now; the reveal here is Steves’s brand of forthright liberalism.
Promising not to “take the edge off” his opinions, Steves embraces geopolitical philosophizing “with the knowledge that good people will respectfully disagree with each other.” Speaking of assumptions, that’s a generous one. Given the mood of a large segment of the American public and Steves’s penchant for pointed passages, anyone care to wager how his fan mail is running?
Ahmad Saidullah reviews Keri Walsh’s compendium The Letters of Sylvia Beach at 3 Quarks Daily. This gives us a chance to plug our own interview with Keri Walsh from last month about the book (See? There’s some original content here after all–even if it’s recycled. Recycling is good, right?)
As part of the new partnership between Salon and McSweeney’s, you can read Nick Hornby’s latest “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column online. The column has returned to The Believer after a too-long hiatus; it’s easily one of our favorite features in the magazine. It’s also one of the major inspirations for this site.
At The New York Times, Dave Itzkoff uses Kristen Stewart’s reaction shots as a way to review the cultural black hole that was the 2010 MTV Movie Awards. Hilarious.
The New Yorker has begun coverage on their “20 Under 40” collection of writers. The editors on their thought process:
The habit of list-making can seem arbitrary or absurd, leaving the list-makers endlessly open to second-guessing (although to encourage such second-guessing is perhaps the best reason to make lists). Good writing speaks for itself, and it speaks over time; the best writers at work today are the ones our grandchildren and their grandchildren will read. Yet the lure of the list is deeply ingrained. The Ten Commandments, the twelve disciples, the seven deadly sins, the Fantastic Four—they have the appeal of the countable and the contained, even if we suspect that there may have been other, equally compelling commandments, disciples, sins, and superheroes. What we have tried to do, in selecting the writers featured in this issue, is to offer a focussed look at the talent sprouting and blooming around us.
Finally, here’s one of those celebrated writers, Wells Tower, in an interview at a bar: