1. "We are not supposed to use the word 'hysteric' anymore, but they still exist, and it sounds like you have one on your hands." →

    It’s the triumphant return of the only literary advice column that matters, “Dear Reader,” at the Blog of a Bookslut.

  2. “I tried Ivy Compton-Burnett when I was 20, and it didn’t take. I thought, ‘She can’t actually write.’ I came back six years later, and couldn’t stop reading her; no 20th-century novelist is closer to my heart.”

    — Hilary Mantel on Ivy Compton-Burnett and other writers she feels sympathetic or antipathetic to (Henry James is out, Alice and William in) in the New York Times's “By the Book" column

  3. "Bottles for Nine Hypochondriacs" by Kristyna Litten
Proud to have published a book by one of these famous hypochondriacs, a memoir of a second, and the first biography of a third.
[via Playground Mutiny]

    "Bottles for Nine Hypochondriacs" by Kristyna Litten

    Proud to have published a book by one of these famous hypochondriacs, a memoir of a second, and the first biography of a third.

    [via Playground Mutiny]

  4. “If Alice James had a circle, people must have thought she was interesting.”

    image   Portrait of Alice James via PBS

    Jean Strouse talks to Biographile about how she came to write the biography of Alice, the then nearly invisible sister of Henry and William James:

    I discovered Alice in a book by Calvin Tomkins called Living Well is the Best Revenge, about Gerald and Sara Murphy, who were friends with the American expatriate community in France in the 1920s, including Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. At one point, Tomkins wrote, the Murphys came back from Paris to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and dropped in on Alice James and her circle. I thought, “Oh, if Alice had a circle, people must have thought she was interesting.” I knew Henry had a sister, but that was about all I knew. I found Alice’s diary, which was out of print, in a secondhand bookstore.

    Read more of Strouse’s thoughts about her first biographical subject here.

  5. 'Alice James' by Jean Strouse

    Alice James’ spirit is imbued with the talent for a turn of phrase that the male contingent of her family is famous for. Her family was celebrated for its tireless effort not to be bores, but to be extraordinary. The James family dinners are that of legend—children arguing with parents, members pushing back their chairs and pacing the room as they formulated arguments. Those discerning enough to toil through Henry James’ texts for expository gems would find a more personal, self-depreciating and witty cipher in Alice.

         — from a review of Jean Strouse’s Alice James in Fiction Advocate, to read the rest of the review click here.

  6. A Very Short Review

    "Her brothers weren’t the only smart ones."  

        —- a “Very Short Review” by Tyler Cowen in The New York Times Magazine's "The One Page Magazine"

  7. Alice James by Jean Strouse reviewed by Dead Critics →

    Topics discussed include illness, failure, Freudian psychology, sexuality, biography, and the dynamics in one quite exceptional family.

  8. Alice James by Jean Strouse

    Last week we released Alice James, the biography of Henry and William’s sister, by Jean Strouse. Alice is most famous for her Diaries, which present her witty and insightful opinions on life around her. She has often been considered a feminist icon: struggling through her multiple illness and the social conventions that kept her, as a woman, from achieving the worldly success that she desired and her brothers acquired. Here’s the first paragraph from the book:

    Interesting perceptions are preferable to marketable achievements only when there is enough money to go around. The money that paid for the unusual freedom of the James family had been earned long before Alice’s parents were married.