In our 21st-century world, it seems disarmingly quaint that an entire printing of Dubliners was destroyed in 1912 for being obscene because James Joyce dared to use the colloquialism “bloody.” In the ensuing years, high-minded censors in both Britain and America continued to attack Joyce’s work, striving to keep his magnum opus, Ulysses, out of the hands of readers. Conventional minds were shocked by the book’s candid depictions of sexual and scatological matters and the “filthy” language Joyce used to portray them. The censors had the upper hand at first, but their campaign ultimately backfired, as the legal challenge to publish and distribute Ulysses transformed the culture and the laws that had tried to control it.
This month's best new romances feature tasty recipes, small town secrets and lovers on the run.
The best new mysteries feature two German imports, a chilling debut novel from Neely Tucker and the newest installment in Malla Nunn's Emmanuel Cooper series.
French, Texan and "manly" meals are the stars of this month's cooking column.
This month's Lifestyles column encourages creative activism, clever gardening and animal awareness.
Like the Vietnam War a generation or so later, the Spanish Civil War was a localized conflict that took on global resonance. Major Western powers adopted an official hands-off policy toward the Iberian struggle between socialists and fascists, afraid to upset the fragile diplomatic balance in the uneasy Europe of the 1930s. Still, the bloody hostilities gained the wider public’s attention and sympathies, in no small part due to a coterie of impassioned journalists and intellectuals who took up the cause of Spain. In her meticulously researched and beautifully told new book, Hotel Florida, Amanda Vaill refracts the turbulent events that took place between July 1936 and March 1939 through a prism of six such determined believers.
Two excellent crime novels and a polished memoir on dying make for great listening.
This month's Whodunit column spotlights a standalone from Nesbø, a mystery in the French countryside, a mother's bloody return and the second adventure from Daniel Friedman's octogenarian hero.
Three excellent novels from 2013 are now available in paperback, perfect for sparking discussion in your reading group.
Tea drinkers, clever crafters and gardeners will love this month's Lifestyles column.