The vast majority of book reviews are informative and genteel. What books get that treatment, and why? And what happens when reviewers sharpen their tools and go nasty? Jacke and Mike take a look at the some of the most savage book reviews of all time.
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“She was a combination of Little Nell and Lady Macbeth,” said Alexander Woolcott. Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) wrote short stories, poems, reviews, screenplays, and more. Perhaps most famously, she was part of the group of New Yorkers known as the Algonquin Round Table, which met every day for lunch and eventually grew famous for their witticisms, put-downs, and general high spirits. A woman of brilliance as well as deep contradiction, Parker at her best combined romantic optimism with a dark, biting pessimism that still feels modern.
In this episode, Jacke is joined by the President of the Literature Supporters Club for a field report of the Algonquin Hotel today and a discussion of Parker’s life, works, and top ten quips.
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“Handel – Entrance to the Queen of Sheba” by Advent Chamber Orchestra (From the Free Music Archive / CC by SA).
“I Wished on the Moon” by Billie Holiday (1935) and Ella Fitzgerald and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra (1962)