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Posts Tagged ‘John le Carré’

Loose Lips Make the World Go Round, and Other News

November 11, 2014 | by

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From U.S. World War II–era propaganda.

  • Last week, our editor Lorin Stein spoke at an event in San Francisco about Édouard Levé, whose work he’s translated—the audio from the discussion is now online.
  • Flannery O’Connor has been inducted into the American Poets Corner at New York’s St. John the Divine, the “only shrine to American literature in the country.” “Inducting O’Connor this year was a fairly easy consensus decision. More contentious was the selection of the quotation for her plaque. The challenge was to tread a line between what Nelson called O’Connor’s ‘grand pronouncements’ and what Alfred Corn called her southern ‘cracker-barrel humor.’ The quote they settled on is from a 1953 letter that O’Connor wrote to Elizabeth Hardwick and Robert Lowell … ‘I can with one eye squinted take it all as a blessing.’ ”
  • John le Carré’s A Most Wanted Man is banned at Guantánamo, and he’s altogether pretty psyched about it: “In banning my novel, the custodians of Guantánamo have once again demonstrated their sensitivity and respect for human dignity. No prisoner who has not been found guilty of any crime should be subjected to cruel and degrading literature.”
  • Today in bold claims from evolutionary psychologists: “Gossip is what makes human society as we know it possible.” Tell all your friends.
  • The long, strange birth of Fundamentalism in America: “The term itself was coined in the 1920s by American Protestants who resolved to return to the ‘fundamentals’ of Christianity. Their retreat from public life after the Civil War had narrowed and, perhaps, distorted their vision. Instead of engaging as before with such issues as racial or economic inequality, they focused on biblical literalism, convinced that every single assertion of scripture was literally true. And so, their enemy was no longer social injustice but the German Higher Criticism of the Bible, which had been embraced by the more liberal American Christians who were still attempting to bring the gospel to bear on social problems.”

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What We’re Loving: Gas Stations, New York Stories, The Room

September 13, 2013 | by

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Forty-three years after his death, John O’Hara still holds the record for the most stories published in The New Yorker (247), a record all the more impressive when you consider that he spent a decade boycotting that magazine over a negative review. Wherever he published, one of  O’Hara’s favorite subjects was New York City. He specialized in speakeasies, but he also took an interest in gentlemen’s clubs, Park Avenue apartments, dressing rooms, tenements—like Balzac, he aimed at a full panorama, in his case of the years before World War II. Now O’Hara’s New York stories have a volume of their own, thanks to the scholar Steven Goldleaf. My favorite is “Bread Alone,” about a father and son at a ballgame. Something tells me that it inspired the first chapter of Underworld. At least, it would be a worthy inspiration. I read The New York Stories as homework (Goldleaf and I will be discussing O’Hara this coming Monday with the novelist Lawrence Block) but it was a labor of love. —Lorin Stein

“Imagine a movie so incomprehensible that you find yourself compelled to watch it over and over again. You become desperate to learn how (if) on earth it was conceived: Who made it, and for what purpose?” These words could only refer to The Room, a cult phenomenon frequently described as the Citizen Kane of bad films; they come from The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, by Greg Sestero and the peerless Tom Bissell. Sestero was coerced into participating in the project by its enigmatic, megalomaniacal writer-director-star, Tommy Wiseau, and served as reluctant intern, cameraman, casting director, and, ultimately, costar (“Mark,” to the initiated.) The book is hilarious, and the stories behind the making of The Room are even more bizarre than one might expect; truly, like the film itself, they must be seen to be believed. —Sadie Stein Read More »

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Rumors of the Death of the Book Greatly Exaggerated, and Other News

April 10, 2013 | by

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  • Peter Workman, “known in the publishing world as a genially offbeat entrepreneur of nonfiction, with an on-base percentage—in publishing terms—worthy of Cooperstown,” has died. Workman hits included The Preppy Handbook, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, and The Silver Palate Cookbook.
  • Barnes & Noble gets into the self-publishing game with NOOK Press.
  • The death of the book, like doomsday, has been predicted since time immemorial.
  • But: “If reading is going be all digital in fifty years, so be it.” Tim Waterstone, founder of the eponymous bookstore chain, is philosophical.
  • Listen to John le Carré read from his new novel.
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    These Quizzes Are Hard, and Other News

    April 8, 2013 | by

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    • Can you guess these classic books from their phantom covers? In a word: no. (Well, three of them.)
    • Guess these famous novels from their second lines? We batted like .600.
    • Also disspiritingly difficult: this John le Carré quiz.
    • Buck up! “Without the advertising budgets of major houses, the smaller presses have more difficulty finding readers, Mr. Nelson said, and the idea behind the library was to form a community of people who could share books that were not easy to find elsewhere.” Meet Mellow Pages Library of Bushwick. 
    • Iain Banks, who announced last week that he is dying of cancer, married his long-term partner at Inverlochy Castle Hotel in the Scottish Highlands. As he put it, he asked if she would “do me the honour of becoming my widow.”

     

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    A Man Finds Twenty Grand in a Book, and Other News

    November 13, 2012 | by

     

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    Cuckolds and Commutes: Happy Monday!

    May 21, 2012 | by

  • This writers’ workshop is inspired by the 7-train commute.
  • Feel-good alert! A good samaritan bails out an endangered Vermont bookmobile.
  • One affair, two sides of the story: when both cuckold and cad give their versions, and, by the way, the latter is John le Carré.
  • The Marriage Plot, coming to a multiplex near you. (Okay, maybe not a multiplex.)
  • Jay McInerney: “I was fortunate to get a lot of mileage out of my vices.”
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