Dirda says, “In Middle C, you will look in vain for heroes, detectives or friendly elves. You will, however, find a wizard.” Dirda then gets so complimentary that it borders on the absurd, comparing Gass favorably to Nabokov, and nonsensically saying that he’s realized Flaubert’s dream of “writing a novel about nothing,” even as he admits: “Not that he has totally eschewed a story line.” Still, getting a precise, experienced critic like Dirda to stumble over his words like this is no easy feat, and if you’re even mildly intrigued, Dirda will be happy to give you a thousand-word sales pitch.
Maybe it’s because Hillary Clinton is the most ambitious ex-First Lady in modern American history, maybe it’s because—if she was five years younger—she’d have a hell of a chance of becoming the first female President, or maybe it’s because of the one-topic Tumblr dedicated to her, but Hillary seems like a fascinating biography subject. Ghattas, the BBC’s State Department correspondent, uses notes and interviews collected from four years of traveling with Clinton and assembles this account of her tenure as Secretary of State.
Doctor Who might be “the most documented programme in the history of television,” but it’s also a distinctly British phenomenon. For casual stateside observers, this book might almost as interesting for its insight into the nationalized British television system as for its tales of sex scandals.