Love, Sex, Death & Words

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 August, 2011, 12:00am


Love, Sex, Death & Words
by John Sutherland & Stephen Fender
Icon Books (e-book)

This is a gimmicky book that works, sort of. Its overarching subject is literature but the entries are random, the only thing determining their inclusion sometimes being the day on which they occurred. Authors John Sutherland, a Victorianist, and Stephen Fender, an American Studies pioneer in Britain, start on January 1 and end on December 31. On New Year's Eve, 1961, Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road, a novel about a doomed marriage in American 1950s suburbia, was published. With 364 other snippets to choose from, readers will find more interesting factoids, and that's the problem with this book - some days were slower for literary news. Some entries will jog memories, such as James Frey's admission, on Oprah Winfrey's Book Club (January 26, 2006), that A Million Little Pieces was more fiction than memoir - although he stood by the 'essence' of the book. Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep was published on February 6, 1939, when he was 51. And look for the Agatha Christie entry, which is suitably mysterious.