Book Review

An online-only review of books and arguments about books.

N1BReading

N1BReading

What n+1 editors and contributors are reading this month.

David Owen’s The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning: And Other Adventures in American Enterprise should be way, way more famous than it is. Somebody reissue it. The collection of essays— published in Harper’s and the Atlantic in the 1980s— is about advertising, market research, how to get people to do what you want them to do. Owen goes to Liverpool with a bunch of Beatles fanatics, attends a convention for convention planners, close-reads trade magazines, explains how divorce rates influence the toy industry. The conceit, in retrospect, is a little flimsy, but it doesn’t matter: his essays are among the least tortured journalism I’ve ever read, and his choice of subject matter—novel, seemingly slight—epitomizes the kind of obsolete intellectual audacity that, for whatever reason, you only ever really come across in out of print books.

Mission Fatigue

Mission Fatigue

“So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one.”

Ever since the publication of The Kite Runner in 2003, the Afghan-born American novelist Khaled Hosseini has been the foremost practitioner of what we might call humanitarian fiction—work designed to jar privileged readers out of their complacency by reminding them of the extreme hardships and injustices suffered by people in other parts of the world.