The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Judy Blume’

Sing It, Walt! and Other News

May 19, 2015 | by


Whitman at age twenty-eight, 1848.

  • After seventeen years, Judy Blume is publishing a new novel—for adults. “In so many of Blume’s books, her main characters’ bodies insist on their inherent, primal messiness; they crave, they ooze, break out in rashes as strange and humiliating as desire itself. The body is reckless, but telling.”
  • Walt Whitman, pop-music critic: in 1845, the poet published a brief review in Broadway Journal, where he pays a hearty compliment to a family of singers: “The sight of them, as they are, puts one in mind of health and fresh air in the country, at sunrise—the dewy, earthy fragrance that comes up then in the moisture, and touches the nostrils more gratefully than all the perfumes of the most ingenious chemist.”
  • Herman Wouk turns one hundred this month. Give the guy a break. “Readers under forty know Wouk, if they know him at all, as a name on the spine of a paperback shoved into a cottage bookshelf at the end of someone else’s summer vacation—or perhaps as the supplier of the raw material for Humphrey Bogart’s epic performance as Captain Queeg of the USS Caine. What they don’t know is that Herman Wouk has a fair claim to stand among the greatest American war novelists of them all.”
  • “Often when I’m home alone, only the thought of how my dead body might be found helps me act proper … I thought of this while going to the local deli to buy a carrot and a couple of onions. A long time ago, when I started living by myself, before my wife-to-be and I moved in together, I used to be very careful when I went to the grocer’s for a carrot or a courgette to buy more than one—for who, when cooking for one, ever needs more than one carrot?—in case the grocer thought I had improper designs on the vegetable … These days, I do not give a damn. I am too busy palpating my solitude, as the tongue probes a gap in the teeth.”
  • Paul Ford on “No Manifesto for Poetry Readings and Listservs and Magazines and ‘Open Versatile Spaces Where Cultural Production Flourishes,’ ” a new collaborative poem: “My own opinion of whether the poem is good or bad doesn’t matter. The poem makes me squirm; it makes me roll my eyes; it makes me angry at the world; and it makes me tired. I keep coming back to it. This poem indicates a lot of things at once about how cultural work is done now, in form, content, and means of production.”

This Is Spinal Fusion

October 30, 2013 | by


The doctor asks you to bend down, then waddle a few steps as he watches you. You might be ten but could be fourteen, at the pediatrician or in the school nurse’s office, probably a girl but maybe a boy. It might be the last item on a long checklist of routine things: height, weight, blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, check; vision and hearing, check; mumps vaccine, chickenpox history, tetanus shot, check; then, finally, the duck-walk diagnostic test.

Me, I was in the school gym. I’d waited with friends for my turn in the locker room with the doctor who’d volunteered to give physicals for the middle-school athletes. He knew my mother, so we made polite conversation between routine questions. Then, he asked me to bend and take a few steps. I did so, staring at the cracked concrete beneath my bare feet. When I was allowed to straighten, I could see that the doctor’s face had changed completely.

Locked on my torso, his now-serious eyes ticked left-right-left-right, then fixed on the planes and angles of my shoulders and hips. Trusting that I trusted him, the doctor placed one of his hands on my shoulder and his other hand on my hip. After a moment, one of his hands moved to my back and traced the misaligned knobs of my spine. That sensation, a man’s hand running down my spine impersonally, as if I were no more animate than a mannequin or cadaver, would become very familiar to me.

Scoliosis curves your spine into an S, a biological scarlet letter glaringly visible by X-ray but also perceptible to the naked eye. Read More »


Faulkner’s Outlines, and Other News

May 15, 2013 | by


  • Flavorwire rounds up handwritten outlines. (That’s William Faulkner’s outline for A Fable written on the wall.)
  • “The Good Union bookstore, which usually sells school textbooks, said it had sold roughly eighty sets of the trilogy in the past month. By comparison, Taobao’s current number one best seller, Travel Keeps You Young, sold four hundred copies last month.” Contraband 50 Shades hits China
  • Judy Blume, on the big screen for the first time.
  • “I saw women on the street cars with their little changer belts … And they had caps with bills on them and they had form-fitting jackets. I loved the uniforms! So I said, ‘That’s the job I want.’” Maya Angelou’s teenage ambition.
  • Meet the Man Booker International Prize finalists


    O Tempora! And Other News

    January 29, 2013 | by

  • If you’re not Pride and Prejudiced out, here’s a playlist. (We think it should end with “Chapel of Love,” but that’s a matter of opinion.)
  • Barnes & Noble will be downsizing, closing twenty stores a year for the next ten years. (Did you know they had that many stores?)
  • In related news, the Globe and Mail is, depressingly, slashing its books section. That’s right: “Slashing.”
  • At least the word puberty is no longer censored! Judy Blume on the bad times.
  • It would seem that Harry Potter, like the Bible, can be used to support any argument.



    Sacred Texts, Caravaggio, and Some Pigs

    July 12, 2012 | by

  • Yes, the Vatican is publishing e-books.
  • So is Judy Blume.
  • Amazon pulls a book allegedly containing a hundred previously undiscovered Caravaggios after scholars question its legitimacy.
  • Meanwhile, the Codex Calixtinus, a twelfth-century manuscript that disappeared last year, has been recovered.
  • Happy birthday, E. B. White. Here are some piglets.




    On the Shelf

    February 22, 2012 | by

    P.G. Wodehouse.

    A cultural news roundup.

  • R.I.P. Barney Rosset.
  • Judy Blume’s Oscar picks.
  • Paramount makes the Puzo Estate an offer it can refuse?
  • Surely you’re joking, Mr. McCarthy.
  • A site of one’s own.
  • A room for one’s books.
  • Wodehouse’s wartime legacy.
  • The Master Book of All Plots?
  • A truly beautiful library.
  • Forget Washington. Things to do for Wallace’s birthday.
  • “Fans trek across the country for the chance to see Wallace’s underlined paperbacks, his early drafts, his e-mails to tax experts. The staff has even received a request for a scan of Wallace’s handwriting, for use as a tattoo.”
  • He fought Wikipedia, and Wikipedia won.
  • Lin-ericks.
  • Lin-dles.
  • Lin(coln) Towers.