January 23, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Since 1985, Manhattan’s Rizzoli Bookstore has occupied a spectacular six-story limestone townhouse on Fifty-Seventh Street—their Web site aptly goes in for a bit of self-congratulation, touting the “cast iron chandeliers, ornately decorated vaulting, and a luminous Diocletian window.” You can learn more about the history of the building here. It’s the sort of place that inspires breathless exaltation in book lovers, or even merely book likers; if you were to publish a magazine of bookseller porn, Rizzoli would be the centerfold. Put more baldly, it’s magical.
Alas, in a plot turn that seems ripped from a bad movie, realtors have designs on the building—they want to demolish it and build a high-rise. One can only imagine the cackles that issue from their inner sanctum with so many malignant plumes of cigar smoke.
But fear not. Citizens have come together, as we are wont to do, to preserve Rizzoli as a landmark. Sign the petition to help save it, and, as a bonus, to ensure that these dastardly realtors are left stomping their finely crafted hats.
January 13, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
The Kraus Project, Jonathan Franzen’s translation of three essays by the late Austrian writer Karl Kraus, has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award in criticism. An excerpt from the book, “Against Heine,” appeared in our Fall 2013 issue, and several excerpts of that excerpt—meta-excerpts, if you will—made their way here to the Daily. Winners will be announced on March 13; until then, to prevent the suspense from killing, maiming, or even laying a finger on you, breathe deeply and read Franzen’s expansive notes on “the anal-retentive preciousness” of John Updike’s prose; the externalities of Salinger’s appeal to young readers; the difficulties of translating German travel humor; and the proper way to inflect harsh. And keep your fingers crossed!
January 9, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Sometimes it’s hard to say how you really feel. You want to be accommodating. You want to be kind. Above all, you want to be liked, but nobody likes a pushover. This is the year to stick up for yourself!
We intend to lead by example. Just last week, for instance, some wise guy tweeted, “They can’t fool me. Everyone knows The Paris Review has been just a McSweeney’s Twitter sock-puppet since Plimpton passed away.” Well, that sort of hurt our feelings. We let it slide at the time, but now we’ve grown a pair—AND WE ARE NOT A PUPPET!
True, we’ve been touting our subscription deal with McSweeney’s for a week now. We’ve been tireless, not to say relentless, in promoting our association with that fine publication. Why? Not because we’re pushovers, but because—and this is the sound of a literary magazine putting its pedigreed, pedicured, sixty-year-old foot down—it’s one hell of a deal. Think about it. For just $75, you get a full year of McSweeney’s and The Paris Review—that’s a 20 percent savings on all the interviews, fiction, essays, art, poetry, and humor a discerning reader could want. Subscribe now!
January 7, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
Variety, it’s said, is the spice of life, and too often our lives are sparingly seasoned—not with fennel seed or ancho chile powder, but with a few grains of table salt, iodized if we’re lucky. On a water cracker. But a new year is upon us, and we intend to try new things: like duck larb, or sweetbreads in mole, or Alsatian choucroute garnie.
Sure, The Paris Review is reliable: with the best in fiction, interviews, poetry, and art, plus three National Magazine Awards in the last five years, we prefer to think of ourselves as sturdy, not stodgy. But in terms of variety, it’s hard to beat McSweeney’s, whose every issue is a veritable jack-in-the-box of unpredictability. Where we hew to the tried and true—same trim size, same typeface—at McSweeney’s these things are subject to change without notice. 2005’s “Made to Look Like It Came in Your Mailbox” issue was just that; winter 2010 came in a large box illustrated with a very rubicund head; and their most recent offering, “Multiples,” features up to six different versions of twelve stories.
Clearly, then, the most variety of all would come from reading both our magazines. That’s why, through January, we’re offering a subscription deal: you can get McSweeney’s and The Paris Review for just $75, a 20 percent savings. That’s more than a lot of new things—it’s a flavor explosion. (Caveat emptor: though we can’t speak for McSweeney’s, we feel comfortable saying our publication will never be literally edible.)
January 6, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
As truisms go, “They grow up so fast” is a doozy. Take it from us. A mere fifteen years ago, when The Paris Review was a sprightly forty-five, we looked on in wonder as McSweeney’s took its first steps in this world, a mock eighteenth-century gazette from the outskirts of Silicon Valley. At moments we glimpsed a younger, friendlier version of ourselves, if we’d been born in a small nonsmoking city where people did graphic design. We laughed at their jokes. We admired the typesetting. We even paid a couple of visits to their pirate store.
What can we say? Time did its thing. We remained on the East Coast, McSweeney’s on the West. As the years passed, we begged off various ballet recitals, countless soccer games, and at least one fiction reading that had an acoustic guitar component. We were an absentee elder sister. No more! With a new year upon us and McSweeney’s entering its headstrong teenage phase, we want a second chance: at the ripe old age of sixty, we’re spending more time with the kid.
All month long, we’re offering a subscription deal in conjunction with McSweeney’s: you can get both magazines for just $75, a 20 percent savings. Because it’s 2014, and you don’t have to make the same mistakes we did. You can have it all: the interviews, fiction, poetry, art, essays, humor, and translations that make us proud to be in the same business.
January 6, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
There are going to be some exciting things happening here at the Daily! For starters, after nearly two years of editing the site, I’m going to be shifting my focus to writing: as a contributing editor and sort of house writer, I’ll now be appearing here on a daily (no pun intended) basis!
As to the editorial side, I’m delighted to hand things over to Dan Piepenbring, who has graciously made the westward trek to lend TPR his talents, smarts, and musical acumen. (One of these days I’ll actually get all my perfume bottles, matchbooks, and ink bottles out of his desk.) Watch this space to see the wonders he works.