Letters to the Editor – The New York Times

Kurt Andersen Asks: What Is the Future of America?

To the Editor:

I have just read Kurt Andersen’s new book, “Evil Geniuses” (review, Aug. 23). I am trying to figure out what exactly is “saxophonely” about it. I suspect that were he alive, Adolphe Sax would face the same quandary and would further be dismayed by your reviewer turning his invention into a meaningless adverb. I am also quite sure that great saxophonists like Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz would like to rise up from their graves at this desecration of their chosen instrument. Andersen’s book deserves a better adverb.

Alvin Newman

To the Editor:

Was this a copy-editing failure? Or does someone think that “saxophonely” is a word? Either way, not a great look.

Adam Spilka
Branford, Conn.

To the Editor:

Please inform your readers at the earliest convenient moment what in God’s name a “saxophonely” written book is. Is it written with a saxophone? Or possibly by a saxophone? Inquiring minds want to know.

Stanley W. Cloud

To the Editor:

After reading Karan Mahajan’s essay on “The Golden Notebook” (Aug. 23), I got down on my hands and knees to scour the bottom shelf of my bookcase and found a dusty 1971 copy of it that I always meant to read, but never got around to it. Now I have plenty of time to give to it, and I appreciate the reminder. Same for the essay on Carol Shields (Aug. 23), whose books I’ve always loved. And if I cannot find “The Stone Diaries” in my multi-stacked shelves, thank heavens the New York Public Library is open again! Please continue to remind us of great books and women authors of the recent past.

Suzanne Kreps
New York

To the editor:

I was a tad disappointed to read Naomi Huffman’s piece on Carol Shields and had to get to the final paragraph before there was any mention of “Unless.” The opening of that story is just stunningly haunting and beautiful. Go look for it and see if you don’t think it nails the state of our lives today and probably for a good long while, alas. I read the novel when it was published and carry my pane of glass every day. I did read “The Stone Diaries,” but her final work is the one I revisit and pass on to others.

Karla Palmer
Watertown, Conn.

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