Open up a copy of Bookforum and press your dirty little hands up against a window that peers into a covetable world of literary glory. Within its pages is a place where the walls are lined with well-stocked bookshelves, people chat about the latest authors like revered sports heroes, and everybody (presumably) drinks classy wine. In short, Bookforum is a slice of booklover’s heaven.
The Dec.-Jan. 2008 issue serves up a heady dish of high criticism, starting with two articles on Henry James: Peter Brooks takes on the first two volumes of James’ letters, while Colm Tóibín writes about The Mature Master, a new biography of James by Sheldon M. Novick. There's also John Banville's discourse on pulp fiction, and a depressingly intelligent essay by Billy Collins on the new book How To Talk About Books You Haven’t Read—detailing, naturally, why the reviewer resisted the temptation not to read the book he was reviewing.