The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day’

Happy Fourth of July from The Paris Review

July 4, 2014 | by

plimpton fireworks

I always thought it was the best day of the year. It was in the middle of the summer, to begin with, and when you got up in the morning someone would almost surely say, as they did in those times, that it was going to be a “true Fourth of July scorcher.” School had been out long enough so that one was conditioned for the great day. One’s feet were already leather-hard, so that striding barefoot across a gravel driveway could be done without wincing, and yet not so insensitive as to be unable to feel against one’s soles the luxurious wet wash of a dew-soaked lawn in the early morning. Of course, the best thing about the day was the anticipation of the fireworks—both from the paper bag of one’s own assortment, carefully picked from the catalogs, and then, after a day’s worth of the excitement of setting them off, there was always the tradition of getting in the car with the family and going off to the municipal show, or perhaps a Beach Club’s display … the barge out in the harbor, a dark hulk as evening fell, and the heart-pounding excitement of seeing the first glow of a flare out there across the water and knowing that the first shell was about to soar up into the sky.

—George Plimpton, Fireworks


Light and Dark

July 4, 2013 | by


It has been almost three months since the Boston Marathon bombings and the riveting manhunt that followed: less than a hundred days, a fraction of the time needed to understand what happened, what will happen. Still, that searing week lingers vividly in our consciousness. A runner crumples on Boylston Street, paralyzed by the blast. Medics rush against the tide of a fleeing crowd. A helicopter outfitted with heat sensors tracks the shadowy movement of a man under a tarp, stowed away in a boat moored in the inland backyard of a place called Watertown. It has all the contours of a dream: precise in some places, blurry in others, tantalizingly real and unreal.

In early May a woman in Virginia with no link to the bombers found a cemetery that would accept the older brother’s body, after many had refused. She had no connection to the Tsarnaevs, or at least no more than the rest of us wrapped up in this unfolding. Asked why she made the effort, she told her interviewer on National Public Radio: “Jesus tells us to—in the parable of the Good Samaritan—love your neighbor as yourself. And your neighbor is not just someone you belong with but someone who is alien to you.” She lives along the same Eastern Seaboard, 550 miles south of Boston, in a state with its own prominent place in the birth of our nation. Read More »


Staff Picks: Harriet the Spy, Happy Fourth of July!

July 1, 2011 | by

In the embarrassing oversights department, I had been meaning and meaning to read the novelist Jean-Philippe Toussaint. Why did it take me so long? His latest work to be translated into English, The Truth About Marie, is haunting, clever, funny. I can’t wait to read more ... as soon as I finish Harriet the Spy. Where was she all my life? —Lorin Stein

I saw a really interesting film recently: The Target, which was cowritten by Vladimir Sorokin. It's a strange mix of Anna Karenina, sci-fi, and social commentary, but it works. Light viewing it's not, but if you're in the mood to stomach a dystopia in which love is a soulless illusion, it's worth seeking out! —Sadie Stein

Also, I’m going to see Le Rayon Vert—back at Film Forum by popular demand. —L. S.

This weekend, I’m reading Rebecca Wolff's The Beginners, a debut novel about a fifteen-year-old girl who befriends a new couple in town, the Motherwells. The Motherwells say they’ve moved to Wick, Massachusetts, to study the town’s history of witchcraft, but from the reviews, it sounds like spookier things start to happen. —Thessaly La Force

Even though Monday is Independence Day, today is the ninetieth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. Check out one of my favorite contemporary Chinese short-story collections, the irreverent and absurd I Love Dollars by Zhu Wen. —Ali Pechman

Read More »