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This week: The history of NY arts neighborhoods, DUMBO's annual arts festival, and Sam Lipman asks who gets to choose what art gets made.  

Fiction:The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri: Subhash and Udayan are brothers, born only fifteen months apart, and inseparable during their time growing up in Calcutta. As they grow older they become very different people, with Udayan joining a group of Communist revolutionaries and Subhash traveling to America to pursue grad school. While in the U.S., Subhash hears what has happened to his brother, and returns to India to try and find closure and help his family heal.

Nonfiction: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes: Writing this deeply personal study of grief is how Barnes coped with the unexpected death of his wife in 2008. Progressing from the nineteenth century into the present, the book examines grief through the lens of many subjects, ranging from photography to marriage, giving the reader an intimate look at a mourning widower trying to come to terms with his loss.

Poetry:Not Quite: Why Rachel Wetzsteon is her generation’s best love poet by Adam Kirsch: Over at the Poetry Foundation, Adam Kirsch argues that Rachel Wetzsteon (1967–2009) was her generation’s best love poet thanks to her mastery of Thomas Mann’s idea of literature as the realm of the “not quite”: “Whatever a writer says about herself—about the experiences she has undergone, the emotions she has felt, the beliefs she holds—the very fact that these things are being said in literary form makes them hypothetical, not wholly sincere.”

Art: Art on the Block: Tracking the New York Art World from SoHo to the Bowery, Bushwick, and Beyond by Ann Fensterstock: In this history of the New York art scene, Fensterstock looks at the way artists have adapted to the changing cityscape over the past five decades. From the artistic takeover of SoHo in the 1960s, to the scene’s movement to the East Village in the ’80s, Brooklyn in the ’90s, Chelsea in the ’00s, and most recently the Lower East Side, this book is an informative look at the evolution of artists and neighborhoods in the city that never sleeps.

Music:Shostakovich's The Nose at the Met (Saturday): William Kentridge's inventive production of Shostakovich's satirical masterpiece The Nose returns; Paulo Szot stars and Valery Gergiev conducts.
New York Philharmonic plays Bernstein and Tchaikovsky (Thursday–Saturday, Tuesday): The NY Philharmonic opens its subscription season with a concert featuring the symphonic dances from Bernstein's West Side Story and Tchaikovsky's beloved first piano concerto, performed by Yefim Bronfman.

Other: DUMBO Arts Festival (Friday–Sunday): Featuring over 400 artists, 100 studios, 50 galleries and stages, and 100 programing partners, the Dumbo Arts Festival brings together creative types from a wide array of backgrounds. Featuring traditional and less-traditional media, digital art, large scale projections, dance, poetry, music, and more, there’s something for everyone. Since it’s the first full weekend of fall, you’ll want to bring a jacket to see the festival’s many outdoor exhibits that take advantage of the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

From the archive:Funding the arts: who decides? by Samuel Lipman, October 1983: Thirty years ago Samuel Lipman asked a question that still matters to the art world: Who decides which art gets made?

From our latest issue:Edmund Sears Morgan, 1916–2013 by Marc M. Arkin: A look back at the life of Edmund Sears Morgan, the historian who wrote prolifically about puritans, colonial America, and the Revolution.