Books Present, Books Past, and Books to Come

A new format for this column

In "Books of the Year," posted at the end of 2002, we were able to highlight only a handful of titles. In a moment, we'll mention a few more of interest, including a couple of forthcoming books to watch for. But first, a word about the new format for this column. The Books & Culture Corner will continue as an occasional feature (in mid-February, for instance, look for the Corner's report from the annual AAAS convention—the big science meeting of the year—in Denver). The new weekly feature in this space will be the Book of the Week (sometimes Books), with reviews and interviews taking note of books worthy of attention, pro or con. Since many of the past Corners have been reviews or at least reviewish, this won't mark a radical change.

So many books, so little space. … I would like to thank the number of readers who wrote in response to my recommendation of Haruki Murakami. But why didn't any of you mention that I had listed his collection of stories, After the Quake, as "translated from the Italian"? Probably you were afraid to embarrass me, but I'd rather hear the truth. Especially when the error appears online and can be readily corrected, as this egregious one has been.

Very late in the year I received an extraordinary book of photographs: Home Front: American Flags from Across the United States, by Peter Elliott, printed on gorgeously heavy paper and published by Chicago's Lily Bay Press (distributed by University of Chicago Press). I couldn't make my way into most of the books occasioned by 9/11, but Elliott's book is an exception.

As Jody Bottum observed not long ago in The Weekly Standard, we are living in a golden age of reprints—so much so that we tend to assume the immediate availability of any book published in the ...

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July/August
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