Book Review: Umberto Eco’s “The Infinity of Lists”

Review by Levi Foster
Rizzoli
Hardcover, 408 Pages
November 2009

Umberto Eco is terrifyingly erudite, as anyone who has read his novels will attest: the extravagant wealth of information in his novels, on medieval scholarship, or the Kabbalah, or any of a dozen other subjects, is staggering. And anyone who has read, for example, the six-page-long description of the main door of the church of the abbey in The Name of the Rose will confirm that Eco has a penchant—perhaps even a passion—for the obsessively detailed catalogue. His most recent novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, could with justice be described as an amnesic narrator rattling down through a catalogue of pre-World War II Italian comic books, popular songs, magazines, newspapers, and other relics of his forgotten childhood.

So Eco’s latest book, The Infinity of Lists, a work of non-fiction about lists in literature and art from Homer to Dalí, is at the very least in character. Continue reading

Book Review: It Is Daylight by Arda Collins (Reviewed by Andrew Chen)

It Is Daylight by Arda Collins
Yale University Press, April 2009
Review by Andrew Chen

This past May, Arda Collins, winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, came to the University of Chicago as part of the Poem Present series, reading from It Is Daylight, her first collection of poems. Tall and thin, with an almost adolescent lankiness, she possessed the gentle incertitude of an awkward teenage girl. Her soft, charming monotone matched her appearance and demeanor as well as her poetry of timid surveillance and meek action, at times ironic and at others strikingly emotional. Her poetry is a result of much craft and control; the anxiety and animation in the poet’s voice carefully ebbs and flows, coupled with an irony that manages to remain connected and personal as part of a crafted persona. This was evident as much in her voice as it is on the pages of her collection. Continue reading

Author Spotlight: Shaun Tan

Picture Books For Adults: The Whimsical Art of Shaun Tan

Tales from Outer Suburbia

Arthur A. Levine Books, Hardcover, 96 pp.
February 1, 2009

Today’s graphic novels are striving to prove to literati that they aren’t just kids’ stuff. By tackling adult themes and employing sophisticated art styles, writers and artists like Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean have shown us what lies beyond the superhero weekly; in doing so they have changed our perception of what graphic novels can be. Continue reading