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Tomas Halik (right), author of Patience With God, spoke this evening at the Czech Center in Manhattan. Fr. Halik worked as a psychotherapist during the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and at the same time was secretly ordained as a Catholic priest and active in the underground church. In his book Night Of The Confessor (Image Books 2012), Fr. Halik writes: “I would like to share how the present period — this world and its extrinsic and intrinsic aspects — is viewed by someone who is accustomed to listening to others as they acknowledge their faults and shortcomings, as they confide their conflicts, weaknesses and doubts, but also their longing for forgiveness, reconciliation, and inner healing — for a fresh start.”
Photograph: Stephen Wise
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was one of the preeminent Abstract Expressionists and a spokesperson for that generation of artists. A 3-volume set dedicated to Motherwell’s life and work has been published by Yale University Press. It is described as the “definitive resource on Robert Motherwell’s paintings and collages, featuring previously unpublished materials and documentation of nearly 3,000 works.”
In 1948 a group of Abstract Expressionists founded a school they called ‘The Subjects of the Artist’. According to Motherwell, the name “was meant to emphasize that our painting was not abstract, that it was full of subject matter.”
“I think that abstract art is uniquely modern — not in the sense that word is sometimes used, to mean that our art has “progressed” over the art of the passed; though abstract art may indeed represent an emergent level of evolution — but in the sense that abstract art represents the particular acceptances and rejections of men living under the conditions of modern times.” RM
From the press release: The graphic novel adapts Sun Tzu’s iconic strategy text into a thriller set in a violent near-future when financial markets are militarized and China is the world’s dominant economy. Written and storyboarded by Kelly Roman and illustrated by Michael DeWeese, the book took six years to create and will be published on July 31 by Harper Perenial, the literary fiction imprint of HarperCollins.
Commentary: Sun-Tzu said: “The state is impoverished by the army when it transports provisions far off.”
Thriller readers are increasingly women, and not just Republican women. British author Lee Child, seen here at ThrillerFest 2012, is big with the ladies (looking for a “he-man” as one put it). His character, Jack Reacher, is being played by Tom Cruise in an upcoming film based on One Shot (2005).
David Morrell (lower photo) is the award winning author of First Blood, the novel in which Rambo was based. He is co-founder of ITW — International Thriller Writers.
Photographs: Stephen Wise
During a week when sales of Fifty Shades of Grey broke 20 million copies in the U.S., we were able to get just $2 (from Strand in NYC) for this first edition (20th printing) copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.
David Maraniss talked about his just released biography of Barack Obama this evening in New York. He commented that the “venom in the modern political world” had dissuaded him from pursuing the project for a while, but then decided to follow his philosophy, which is “go where there is.” He said his research for the book had taken him around the world — over 40,000 miles. His goal was to get at the sociological forces that shape Obama — “the world that created him and how he reinvented himself.”
The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist described discrepancies between what he had discovered about the President’s past and what Obama had written in his own memoir. He recounted a meeting with President Obama in which he shared the book’s introduction and table of contents. After reading it, Obama said, “I found it interesting that you call my book fiction.” Maraniss replied, “No I call it literature.”
Maraniss’ book focuses on Obama’s early life, including his parents and grand parent’s stories. He mentioned several times a sense of “randomness” in Obama’s life, with the repeating theme of ”loss — leaving and being left,” and the ongoing “search for home.”
Commentary: People decry the venom in American politics today, and yet are indifferent to the bigger problem of untruthfulness — which transcends politics and has become a national epidemic. Mr. Obama’s deficits as a human being have made him a sympathetic figure for some, but also affected his judgement and job performance — making him an easy target for interest groups that have been able to get their way with him, to the detriment of the nation and world. As an aside — Mr. Maraniss leaned on “randomness” in a sophomoric way, especially for someone in his position.
The work begins in August 1939 with Russian General Zhukov’s defeat of of the Japanese at Khalkhin Gol on the Mongolian-Manchurian border. Mr. Beevor pays particular attention to the Eastern Front, which he said resulted in 90% of the German casualties.
WWII has been called ‘the good war’ by some historians. Commentating on that, Beevor said there should be “no triumphalism — Eastern Europe was sacrificed to save Western Europe.” He mentioned the Japanese had authorized cannibalism at the end of the war, as if to suggest that their savagery necessitated nothing less than the nuclear bombs that they got in August ’45. He noted that in May ’40 Churchill was under pressure to negotiate terms with Hitler to end the war, but seemed thankful that didn’t happen. Mr. Beevor compared Europe of 1938 with Europe today, saying that back then people were not informed about the true nature of the threat, as today they are not informed about the nature of the economic and financial threats they face.
Anthony Beevor lamented the “betrayal and perversity” on all sides during World War II, which he said resulted in 60-70 million lives lost. When asked if his book was “anti-war”? He said he didn’t disagree with that assessment.
Commentary: Two of the dirty secrets of World War II — how the U.S. entered the war — before Pearl Harbor (which may have caused Pearl Harbor), and the decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan, even though Japan had tried to surrender, were not addressed by Mr. Beevor.
Photograph: Stephen Wise