Were he to put his hand on me, I would be revealed as nothing more than a...– —— Currently reading: Edinburgh by Alexander Chee. It’s about love and growing up, homosexuality and pedophilia. Butterflies, birds, and fire. Tunnels beneath us. If you enjoy beautiful words—Chee has written some of the loveliest prose I’ve ever read—and stories filled...
Some Very Serious Links
Because you don’t have enough to read! HTMLGIANT and Blake Butler (who, you may have heard, is one of the craziest and most interesting people ever) have created a Tournament of Bookshit. This means: they chose 64 sort of book-related “entities” and arranged them in an NCAA style bracket. Each week, a judge will decide which thing moves forward. So make your picks now! A few...
The Season I know what calls the Devil from the pits, With a thief’s fingers there he slouches and sits; I’ve seen him passing on a frenzied mare, Bitter eyed on her haunches out to stare; He rides her cruel and he rides her easy. Come along spring, come along sun, come along field daisy. Smell the foxy babies, smell the hunting dog; The shes have whelped, the cocks and hens have lost...
What do I care for first or last editions? I have never read one of my own...– D.H. Lawrence
A Love Letter, A Review: The Stranger’s Child by...
Dear Alan, Where did our love go wrong? Was it in my worship of The Line of Beauty? Was it too much pressure? What did I know of gay British life before I knew you (I was a 20 year-old American female—very little)? I moved on to The Swimming-Pool Library, The Folding Star, but neither moved me so. I should have known. I will not say you are a one-hit wonder, a one-trick pony, a tease. You are...
…everything we brought to the park is gone. The beautiful library is gone....– — Stephen Boyer, a librarian at the People’s Library The thoughtless destruction of property and the disposal of 5,000 books—all of which could have been donated elsewhere and reused and loved again—seems more reminiscent of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 than of the American I thought I...
Say that we are a puff of warm breath in a very cold universe. By this kind of...– — Marilynne Robinson, “Night Thoughts of a Baffled Humanist” An excerpt from an essay adapted from Robinson’s forthcoming collection, When I Was a Child I Read Books (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, March 2012).
The Books We Give
“I can take all the madness the world has to give, but I won’t last a day without you.” To give a book that we love to one whom we love—what a frightening and delicate act! We release a part of ourselves for scrutiny and endless variations of disappointment. We place the judgment of our taste in the hands of someone we want terribly to please. Is any act more terrifying? Five...
The English Lesson, 1957
In 2000, the ever-delightful Algonquin Books released First Words: Earliest Writing from Favorite Contemporary Authors, edited by Paul Mandelbaum. The idea being that, even at young ages, nine or seventeen, many of our beloved writers were already cunning wordsmiths. The publisher recently released one of Margaret Atwood’s early short stories on their blog; please enjoy “The English...
The possibility of venting or distilling friendly or unfriendly feelings through...– Vladimir Nabokov, interview with Alvin Toffler (Playboy, January 1964)
Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of...– —John Ruskin Which begs the question: are any books truly “valueless”?
10 Literary Trends that Need to Go Away
1. Lackluster graphic novel/comic book adaptations …the medium itself isn’t the problem here… The issue lay with the idea behind graphic novel and comic book cash-ins just because it’s the thing to do, paying little heed to the original story, the medium or both. 2. “Self-help” guides doing more harm than good Fun Fact: That “The Secret” thing...
My Two New Favorite Websites
One of the most remarkable features of this modern age—apart from the iPhone and Netflix, of course—has been the development of online communities of interest, this easy discussion between strangers. 4chan, Mac Rumors, YouTube, Yelp. Viral videos, webcomics. Cute Overload! Far from the least of these burgeoning communities, the digital bookish world continues to grow, helped greatly by sites like...