BOOKS OF THE CENTURY by Charles McGrath

BOOKS OF THE CENTURY

100 Years of Authors, Ideas and Literature
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This enhanced version of the centennial issue of the New York Times Book Review offers, in a more permanent form, the pleasures of that retrospective: a broad sampling of pieces drawn from the pages of the section launched in 1897 and thus, given the considerable influence and scope of the weekly journal, a record in microcosm of the evolution of the genre of the book review. The 250 selections include excerpts from essays by influential writers, interviews, and reviews. Some of the reviews seem, inevitably, rather dated. others (such as a review of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountainin 1927) seem to possess an undimmed freshness and accuracy. As McGrath, the current editor of the Review, points out in his succinct Introduction, reviews remain an ephemeral but necessary form, the first and (sometimes) the best response to new work. Gathering so many of them together offers the browser a rare sense of, in McGrath’s words, “literary immediacy—of what it was like, of initial and immediate reaction, when some of the most important or influential books of the century first came into view.” A lively, often surprising, and entertaining companion for serious readers. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1998
ISBN: 0-8129-2965-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1998




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