Looking Forward and Back
The Bookman has had a banner 2012! This past year, we have seen all forms of our traffic increase, and we published in 2012 over sixty new reviews and articles, with weekly selections from our incomparable archives. Some highlights from the past year include our interviews with Booker-shortlisted writer Will Self, American Conservative writer Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Richard Gamble. We have taken fresh looks at Enoch Powell and Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and published a critical examination of George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series, Game of Thrones. Our piece by Peter Augustine Lawler made it to Real Clear Books, and we have been featured at bookforum. The Bookman’s summer reading list was a hit, as was Bruce Frohnen’s two-part essay on the statesmanship of John Adams. Also be sure to have a look at our Schall archives, celebrating the work that the great Father James V. Schall, S.J. has done for the Bookman through the decades.
There is much more to come in 2013, including a look at Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, interviews with Mark Judge, Elizabeth Scalia, and others, and continued reviews of books you should be reading.
We also lost another link to our founder Russell Kirk this year with the passing of Valerie Eliot. In her honor, contributor and poet Eugene Schlanger wrote the following, which we share with you as a Bookman exclusive.
A Poet’s Wife
(for Valerie Eliot, 1926–2012)
Valerie Eliot has just died.
It is said that when she first heard
John Gielgud recite the Journey of the Magi
She instinctively knew
What she wanted to do
And what to do.
Imagine if in our self-important world
You were told that someone
Fell in love with life’s purpose
Upon hearing a poem; odder still,
A poem that recounts an arduous journey
Towards an unlikely birth centuries ago.
Odd? Uncommon? Or
In the England between the wars
Was there still some lingering presence
Of that past in the present before
The dismal future that always
Portends another end?
Perhaps the Magi saw all that and more—
In the caravan, in the small town,
Among those playing dice and
Among those wanting women—
And now, centuries later,
As winter sets upon us again,
I see and hear once more,
Melancholic yet magnanimous,
Among carpenters and plumbers,
Christians and Jews, in Brooklyn,
The borough of churches,
That same desire for direction.
Best wishes for the holidays. The Bookman relies on your support and encouragement, so please tell others about where they can find thoughtful, incisive book reviews.
Gerald J. Russello
Posted: January 1, 2013 in Editor’s Notes.