Posts Tagged ‘gifts’
December 16, 2015 | by Sadie Stein
It may be “better” to give than to receive, but for some of us, it’s also easier. To give is to retain some measure of control, even power, in the dynamic; one who gives does not need to worry about expressing enthusiasm or responding in kind or anything other than sitting back and accepting accolades. When you receive, you want to express pleasure—you want to give them that—and this is exhausting. Gracious gift receiving is very hard, and I’m not just talking about things you don’t want. Read More »
December 10, 2015 | by The Paris Review
Fact: nearly every one of the 214 back issues in our archive, going all the back to 1953, is available for purchase—and they make great last-minute gifts. We’re recommending few of our favorites: the undisputed classics, the oddities, the sleeper hits.
A Writers at Work interview with Rebecca West (Q: “Are there any advantages at all in being a woman and a writer?” A: “None whatsoever.”); fiction by Faulker and Gass; an epistolary squabble between Laura (Riding) Jackson, Martha Gellhorn, Stephen Spender, and the ghost of Yeats; work by thirty-eight poets, including Brainard, Sexton, Creeley, Schuyler, Baraka, and Swenson, and much more—there’s nothing not to love in the double-size twenty-fifth-anniversary issue from Spring 1981. And, perhaps best of all (which is saying a lot), issue 79 contains “The Paris Review Sketchbook,” a hundred-plus-page, mischievous oral history of the Review’s first quarter century: “Literary magazine people never work. They spend hours on end playing pinball machines in cafés.” —Nicole Rudick Read More »
December 8, 2015 | by Sadie Stein
Here at the Review, we don’t run a “gift guide,” as such—though we do have our special holiday offers. Even so, I’m here to solve all your holiday present questions. I’m out of ideas! You say. What do I do? Where do I go? How do I live? All these questions have a single answer.
The answer is this image of a dog in a fez and lounging pajamas, reading a newspaper. Read More »
December 7, 2015 | by Sadie Stein
There was this shop in the neighborhood where I’d sometimes go. It was a good spot to find inexpensive gifts: small vases, lacquered boxes, a decorative dish where you could leave your spare change—noncommittal things just north of impersonal. I’d have gone there more, but for the saleslady.
She was sour. I mean, really puckered—the sort of acerbic person whose life needs an injection of sunshine from a Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm or an Anne of Green Gables or a Pollyanna. The requisite plucky orphan never seems to have come into her life. The first time I visited her shop, there were some other customers there. “Can I buy these individually?” one asked her.
“No, just as a set,” she said curtly. After the shoppers left, she turned to me. “Can you believe what assholes people are?” she demanded balefully. “This is what I deal with all day.” Read More »
November 30, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
I used to get coffee at Pret a Manger almost every morning. It’s a noisy and bustling shop in Union Square, the sort of high-impact environment that teaches people how to shout at one another without sounding unfriendly. (“No, I said I would not like cream cheese!” he yelled at the cashier, smiling with his eyes.) The staff there has been rigorously trained, and no matter how large the crowds are, you can expect to get in and out in just a few minutes. Obviously this is because you’re gently shepherded through the stages of a scripted consumer experience, with the store’s layout, color scheme, music, temperature, and copywriting all doing their part to vectorize you. Later I would learn that Pret, which has more than 350 locations worldwide, holds its employees to stringent standards of affective labor, demanding that they touch one another frequently and display signs of authentic happiness, but I was only intermittently aware of this when I visited regularly. Usually I emerged (my coffee cup snug in its cardboard sleeve, to keep my hand from burning) with the prideful sense that I’d mastered the form of the transaction, with its nested sets of thank yous and predetermined courtesies. I knew the questions the cashier would ask, always with a brittle rictus of corporate-mandate cheer, and I knew the exact order of the questions, and how to answer them. The only bumpiness came at the end of the script, after I’d declined a receipt and the cashier had said, “Thank you, have a great day.” For a while, I responded, “Thanks—you, too,” and the transaction ended there. But I discovered that a slight tweak to this response could advance the dialogue to a third, hidden stage. If I said “You, too—thanks,” the cashier would say, “You’re welcome. Come see us again.”
I tried for several months to find some rejoinder to this, something to elicit some unscripted reaction. “Count on it!” Or, “Don’t mind if I do!” Or, “You know I will, you see me here every morning, five days a week!” Even my best efforts got me nothing but canned laughter (very lifelike canned laughter, it must be said) or another perfunctory exchange of thank-yous. But I was after a human moment. I wanted to parry one rote cordiality against another until the cashier, at last, gave in and acknowledged the ruse. “Look at us,” he’d whisper, “dragooned day after day into this hollow pas de deux of late capitalism.” Then we’d go rob a bank together. Read More »
November 27, 2015 | by The Paris Review
Starting today, if you give your favorite reader a subscription to The Paris Review, we’ll include a free copy of our new anthology, The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from The Paris Review—a $16 value.
Elle calls The Unprofessionals “a cri de coeur against literary credentialism, mixing short stories, essays, and poems by established writers such as Zadie Smith, Brenda Shaughnessy, and John Jeremiah Sullivan with work by lesser-known scribes ranging from their midtwenties to midforties.” The Atlantic calls it “a dispatch from the front lines of literature.” We call it the best stocking stuffer of 2015.
Gift subscriptions for a year of The Paris Review—the best in fiction, poetry, essays, and art—are only $40. Buy yours before December 10 to guarantee arrival before Christmas! (And don’t be afraid to get one for yourself.)