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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXXIX

The German film, The Lives of Others has been released as a DVD. Paul Cantor has an extensive review of it in Books & Culture, claiming it to be the best feature film début by a director since Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane. My own review is here.


Alex Witchel’s piece in The New York Times starts like this:

The men who ruled the world in the late 1950s, or at least six of the men who ruled publishing, rejected Peg Bracken’s manuscript, “The I Hate to Cook Book.” It would never sell, they told her, because “women regard cooking as sacred.” It took a female editor at Harcourt Brace to look at the hundreds of easy-to-follow recipes wittily pitched at the indentured housewife and say, “Hallelujah!” Since its publication in 1960, Bracken’s iconic book, which celebrated the speedy virtues of canned cream-of-mushroom soup and chicken bouillon cubes, has sold more than three million copies. That helped lift her spirits, her daughter, Jo Bracken, said, about her $338 advance.


“If there is a God, he certainly doesn’t need the protection of the British legal system. If there isn’t, he doesn’t need it either. There is therefore no excuse for preserving the offence of blasphemous libel and it should be abolished.”

Salmon Rushdie

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