Picks and Pans Review: The Literary Life and Other Curiosities

updated 01/25/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/25/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Robert Hendrickson

The author must have been clipping everything he's read about writers for years to put together this 404-page batch of what Hendrickson calls "literary hors d'oeuvres." And since he has included plenty of quotes from the greatest writers and wits of all time, there is a lot of entertainment in this volume. There are also curiosities. For instance, until a couple of years ago, at a porn parlor in St. Louis County a customer with $12 could spend 20 minutes with a nude hostess who read erotic or pornographic literature to him, including, if he wished, material he had written. The book also contains the nasty remarks writers make about each other's work: Virginia Woolf called James Joyce's Ulysses "the work of a queasy undergraduate scratching his pimples." And Wilson Mizner is quoted: "Steal from one author and it's plagiarism; steal from many and it's research." This book is research. (Viking, $25)

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