Posts Tagged ‘Jorge Luis Borges’
February 22, 2013 | by The Paris Review
Though the book doesn’t come out until the middle of next month, I can’t wait until then to say how much I liked Scott McClanahan’s Crapalachia. It’s about his youth in rural West Virginia, where he spent his formative years under the influence of his Grandma Ruby and Uncle Nathan, who suffered from cerebral palsy. The book is subtitled “a biography of a place,” but it’s more a biography of a handful of people, and Ruby and Nathan are easily its star characters: beguiling in their weirdness and utterly charming in their deep affection for each other and for Scott. His voice is wholly unaffected, and his account manages to be both comic and unpretentiously sentimental. —Nicole Rudick
My worst reading habit is not reading too fast, or too slow, or stopping books in the middle, or right before the end (though I do all of those things). It’s my persistent impulse to read books that reflect my mood—an impulse that, if indulged often, reduces my reading list to a positively uncatholic range of authors and subjects. But one recent evening, my initial, “safe” pick (James’s The Golden Bowl) was thwarted by Geneviève Castrée’s Susceptible, which, when spotted in a pile of neglected books, looked too intriguing to let alone. An autobiographical comic, the work is less like an illustrated diary and more like a scrapbook; it shows rather than tells, pasting together a series of vignettes to build a narrative of the author’s troubled early life. Castrée’s beautifully toned black-and-white drawings even read more like vintage photographs than they do sketches. The book’s pervasive melancholy is still lingering with me, a reminder of why we really read: to feel things besides our own emotions. —Clare Fentress Read More »
December 4, 2012 | by Jessica Vivian Chiu
Starting out for the southern end of the Reading Viaduct means walking alongside a live railroad track, vigilant for the sound of a CSX freight train approaching from behind. Your destination is the mouth of an abandoned tunnel, which will pull you into stretches of almost total darkness thirty feet below ground. You aren’t headed for the tunnel because you love tunnels, but to glimpse the diversity of landscapes that makes up Philadelphia’s Reading Viaduct before it becomes the city’s answer to New York City’s Highline. You are there for the tunnel as much as for what’s on the other side: the promise of meadowland and prairie hiding in plain sight.
The Reading Viaduct may one day become a linear park transecting downtown Philadelphia. Should that happen, the Viaduct would be like no other park in the world. The three-mile stretch runs thirty feet underground at one end and emerges as an elevated line thirty feet above street level on the other. Since the 1980s, it has been abandoned. Sections of the Viaduct may undergo development as early as next year. Read More »
August 17, 2012 | by The Paris Review
As though a blog written by a Merriam-Webster lexicographer weren’t exciting enough, Kory Stamper at harm·less drudg·ery recently posted on the thrilling discovery of color definitions. To whit: “begonia n … 3 : a deep pink that is bluer, lighter, and stronger than average coral (sense 3b), bluer than fiesta, and bluer and stronger than sweet william — called also gaiety.” In a kind of synesthetic treasure hunt, she races through the dictionary to follow the trail of colors. “I eventually ended up at ‘coral,’ where sense 3c yielded up the fresh wonder, ‘a strong pink that is yellower and stronger than carnation rose, bluer, stronger, and slightly lighter than rose d’Althaea, and lighter, stronger, and slightly yellower than sea pink.’ Carnation rose was clearly the color of the pinkish flower on the tin of Carnation Evaporated Milk, and Rose d’Althaea was clearly Scarlett O’Hara’s flouncy cousin, but it was the last color that captivated me. ‘Sea pink,’ I murmured.” —Nicole Rudick
“You probably wear lipstick, powder base and a little eye makeup every day. But have you ever considered drawing in completely new eyebrows, wearing false eyelashes, putting hollows in your cheeks with darker foundation, a cleft in your chin with brown eyebrow pencil or enlarging your mouth by a third? These are just a few sorcerer’s tricks available.” Among the most amusing tributes to the original fun, fearless female is Bonnie Downing’s affectionate Outdated Beauty Advice from Helen Gurley Brown over at the Hairpin. —Sadie O. Stein
August 1, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
October 5, 2011 | by Avi Steinberg
Toward the end of Lewis Carroll’s endlessly unfurling saga Sylvie & Bruno, we find the duo sitting at the feet of Mein Herr, an impish fellow endowed with a giant cranium. The quirky little man regales the children with stories about life on his mysterious home planet.
“And then came the grandest idea of all! We actually made a map of the country, on the scale of a mile to the mile!”
“Have you used it much?” I enquired.
“It has never been spread out, yet,” said Mein Herr. “The farmers objected: they said it would cover the whole country, and shut out the sunlight! So we now use the country itself, as its own map, and I assure you it does nearly as well.”
Among Mein Herr’s many big ideas, none is as familiar to us as the Grand Map. We use it, or a version of it, on a daily basis. With Google Street View, which allows us to traverse instantly from a schematic road map into the tumult of the road itself, we boldly zoom from the map to the territory and back. As the Herr said, “we now use the country itself as its own map.” Read More »
August 26, 2011 | by The Paris Review
Just in time for Borges’s birthday, Lindsey Carr is curating a collaborative art project documenting creatures that have never been seen. The project, The Unseen Bestiary, a sort of DIY Book of Imaginary Beings, is soliciting brief descriptions to accompany Carr’s drawings. —Mackenzie Beer
I’m rereading Stanley Cavell’s great essay on King Lear (and everything else), “The Avoidance of Love,” in preparation for what I’m told is another great essay, by Mark Greif, in the new issue of n+1. (Some lifetime subscription that turned out to be!) —Lorin Stein
I’ve been slowly working through the strikingly lyrical essays in City Dog this summer, so I was excited to see new poems by W. S. di Piero in the fall issue of ZYZZYVA. Something about them reminded me of the end of summer. “Starting Over” perfectly evoked that late-August feeling of everyone coming home: “here you are the nothing / that is the place, / and all the places are you, / none of them yours to keep.” —Ali Pechman
I just learned everything I know about Batman from intern Cody, who puts the super back in superheroes. —L.S.
Moving books around in my house, I rediscovered my copy of Boulevard Transportation, a collaboration between Rudy Burckhardt and Vincent Katz. The former’s photographs—framing and juxtaposing country and city streets, architectural elements, faces—and the latter’s poetry—casual glances and delighted observations—are perfectly suited to each other. On one spread, Burckhardt’s closeup of reeds waving against sun-dappled water is set opposite this from Katz: “I put bare / feet to Terra / swim in the lake / all day long / there is nothing / to do / listen to wind in the trees.” —Nicole Rudick
I was one of those lame kids without a rock collection, but Léonard Rosenthal, famed 1920s Parisian jeweler and author of The Kingdom of the Pearl, has reformed me. If you aren’t sold on reading about rocks, check out the Edmund Dulac illustrations that originally accompanied the text. —M.B.
I’ve always felt more like a New Yorker than a Californian, but this video is amazing. — A.P.