A valuable take on a canonical writer, highlighting how good work stands the test of time.



An enjoyable exploration of how Hemingway’s influence on American literature continues to be significant.

In A Moveable Feast, Hemingway gave a direct instruction to writers: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Find the essential truth of the story, and the rest will eventually follow—profound, yes, but surprisingly difficult to do. Cirino and Von Cannon, academics who share a special interest in Hemingway, have been pursuing this idea for years, especially via their One True Podcast. This collection brings together the best of the interviews and adds some other material. Each interviewee was asked to pick their favorite Hemingway sentence (although some pick a paragraph or several sentences) and explain what it means to them. Some examine a sparse, compact line. Others opt for one of Hemingway’s long, swirling sentences. This underlines the variety of Hemingway’s writing as well as his capacity to imply volumes in a few words. Several contributors discuss why Hemingway’s writing has endured, pointing to his focus on the evergreen themes of love, loss, and war. Others note the time and consideration that Hemingway put into his craft, with endless redrafting and rethinking, as well as his embrace of a wide range of the human experience. As he demonstrated, writing is not, in fact, particularly difficult; doing it well and making it look easy, however, is. This is one of the keys to Hemingway: polishing the text until the effort seems to disappear and the authenticity shines through. This is summed up by a line that several writers point to as their inspiration—the concluding line from The Sun Also Rises: “Isn’t it pretty to think so?” Yes, it is. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick co-wrote the foreword, and contributors include Valerie Hemingway, Elizabeth Strout, Sherman Alexie, Paula McLain, Craig Johnson, Joshua Ferris, Russell Banks, and Pam Houston.

A valuable take on a canonical writer, highlighting how good work stands the test of time.

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-56792-713-9

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A top-flight nonfiction debut from a unique artist.


The acclaimed director displays his talents as a film critic.

Tarantino’s collection of essays about the important movies of his formative years is packed with everything needed for a powerful review: facts about the work, context about the creative decisions, and whether or not it was successful. The Oscar-winning director of classic films like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs offers plenty of attitude with his thoughts on movies ranging from Animal House to Bullitt to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to The Big Chill. Whether you agree with his assessments or not, he provides the original reporting and insights only a veteran director would notice, and his engaging style makes it impossible to leave an essay without learning something. The concepts he smashes together in two sentences about Taxi Driver would take a semester of film theory class to unpack. Taxi Driver isn’t a “paraphrased remake” of The Searchers like Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? is a paraphrased remake of Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby or De Palma’s Dressed To Kill is a paraphrased remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho. But it’s about as close as you can get to a paraphrased remake without actually being one. Robert De Niro’s taxi driving protagonist Travis Bickle is John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards. Like any good critic, Tarantino reveals bits of himself as he discusses the films that are important to him, recalling where he was when he first saw them and what the crowd was like. Perhaps not surprisingly, the author was raised by movie-loving parents who took him along to watch whatever they were watching, even if it included violent or sexual imagery. At the age of 8, he had seen the very adult MASH three times. Suddenly the dark humor of Kill Bill makes much more sense. With this collection, Tarantino offers well-researched love letters to his favorite movies of one of Hollywood’s most ambitious eras.

A top-flight nonfiction debut from a unique artist.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-311258-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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