1. I was given “Diary of a Provincial Lady,” by E.M. Delafield, for Christmas. It wasn’t the type of book I’d have chosen for myself, but I ended up really liking it. It’s a fictional diary of a middle-class Englishwoman set between WWI and II and I found myself wanting to emulate her tone. Unlike today’s let-it-all-hang-out honesty, she shows more than she tells while using a wonderful sense of humor, too.

  2. Two new anthologies of rock criticism have re-connected me with this form of cultural writing that prides itself (sometimes, and rarely here, stupidly so) on being at the vanguard of a democratic aesthetics, so important to all the young poets now: This Is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project (Harvard); and The Rose and The Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad (Norton): both books work out the implications of Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, the first 22 pages of which is a classic of American popular culture writing (the rest of it unevenly tries to return to the level of its opening).

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: