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Current Issue: No. 298

Stop! Look! Listen! Laboni Islam's Book Recommendation

Birds Art Life: A Year of Observation by Kyo Maclear 

A few days ago – which will be many days ago by the time you read this – I watched robins, red-winged blackbirds, mallards, and a pair of swallows darting through shadows making them difficult to identify. Birds Art Life is a book I’ve read and re-read, in times of difficulty and in times of relative ease. It always brings me comfort.

Stop! Look! Listen! Richard Tillinghast's Book Recommendation

Forster (1879-1970) is one of my favorite novelists, and I particularly like Howards End. The film version starring Emma Thompson, Anthony Hopkins and Helena Bonham-Carter is superb, and it captures some of the subtlety of perception and insight of the novel itself. The same might be said of A Room with a View, also adapted to the screen. Forster’s work shares some similarities with Virginia Woolf’s work, particularly with Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. Both novelists are as much concerned with sensibility as with incidents, the building blocks of plot. Though both outlived the Edwardian age—Woolf died in 1941, Forster in 1970—and even though Woolf is commonly spoken of as a modernist, I think there is something Edwardian about both their sensibilities. Both treat emotional states and the shared opinions that typify particular social classes in particular historical periods almost as a painter would do—as colours, tones, atmospheres. Clearly both of them write with something of a poetic feeling. 

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