Daniel Handler (better known as Lemony Snicket) reviews the new Tom Drury novel in this week’s NYT Sunday Book Review. Interestingly, Handler doesn’t feign objectivity, as do most novelists writing their often soft-handed reviews of other writers. Instead, he comes in as a fan of Drury, and attempts to analyze what he likes about Drury, and why others seemingly “don’t get it.” The result is a pretty entertaining and pretty convincing recommendation.
There’s something amusingly smarmy about Rose’s first line: “There’s something refreshingly hands-on about American philosophers.” However, while the discussion of Dennett’s book that follows certainly has its moments of condescension, Rose manages to remain relatively objective and fair, even as he “sceptically” reads problems in almost every piece of the book that he brings up. It’s an interesting review, except for when Rose abruptly about-faces and recommends the Dennett book, despite the preceding 600 words of rejection.
If still-living American philosophers aren’t your cup of tea, here’s a “portrait of Descartes” that Dirda describes as a populist writer’s “most inviting book yet.” Dirda describes the work itself as “thrilling” in part, though uneven. It sounds like a pretty solid bet for nonfiction fans without degrees in philosophy.