Russell Hoban, 1925-2011

We are sad to announce the death of Russell Hoban, who passed away this Tuesday, December 13, at the age of eighty-six. Hoban gained the most acclaim for his post-apocalyptic masterpiece Ridley Walker, but was also a highly prolific children’s book author and illustrator. Last spring we are proud to have reissued one of Hoban’s most heartwarming classics, The Sorely Trying Day.

A Letter from the Editor

The Sindbad whose adventures the great Hungarian writer Gyula Krúdy recounts has very little to do with the dauntless character whose name, we are told, the Hungarian Sindbad picked out himself from the Arabian Nights, his favorite book. He could even be accused of passing under false pretences. Yes, this Sindbad is incorrigibly restless, frequently in a tight spot, and not a little wily, but he is hardly a man of action and in no sense a hero. He is not young but ageless, wandering grayhaired in a green hat across the Hungarian plains or turning up in a Carpathian mountain village when not haunting the streets of Buda and Pest.

Congratulations to Stephen Greenblatt, winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

This week, the National Book Awards bestowed the 2011 prize for nonfiction to Stephen Greenblatt for his masterful work, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. Greenblatt is a distinguished scholar who has previously published many outstanding works on English literature, including the bestselling Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare.

In May 2012, NYRB Classics will publish Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici and Urne-Burial, edited and introduced by Stephen Greenblatt and Ramie Targoff.

Happy Birthday to Daniel Pinkwater!

Today we celebrate the 70th birthday of the incomparable writer and illustrator Daniel Pinkwater, author of about one hundred books as unique and funny as he is, by calling attention to his personal favorite book, Lizard Music, the story of Victor, a boy who, in exploring the nearby city of Hogboro while his parents are away, meets the Chicken Man, who is keen on the lizard (yes, lizard) musicians who appear on Victor’s television after the broadcast of the late-late movie. Victor and the Chicken Man travel to the lizards’ floating island, where the strange is fantastic and inspired—all adjectives that could be used to describe Pinkwater himself.

Veterans’ Day

Published in 1947, The Gallery was one of the earliest works of post WWII fiction. It was a critically-acclaimed bestseller and was a trailblazer for books like Catch-22 to follow. Set in occupied Naples in 1944—where author John Horne Burns had been commissioned as an army intelligence officer to investigate crimes committed by U.S. troops—the book captures the shock the war dealt to the preconceptions and ideals of the victorious Americans. It also provides one of the first unblinking looks at gay life in the military.

November Events for Songs of Kabir

Poet, editor, and University of Allahabad professor Arvind Krishna Mehrotra will be reading from his dazzling new translation of Kabir’s poetry at two events in New York City on November 2nd & 3rd. Following the attempts of Ezra Pound and Robert Bly, he has revitalized the work of this legendary North Indian bhakti poet, which explodes with passion, satire, metaphysical ideas, and upside-down language.