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Posts Tagged ‘Judy Blume’

This Is Spinal Fusion

October 30, 2013 | by

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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 »

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Faulkner’s Outlines, and Other News

May 15, 2013 | by

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  • 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
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    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.
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    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.

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    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.
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    On the Shelf

    November 30, 2011 | by

    A cultural news roundup.

  • “His innate humility counters his naked ambition, his earnest sentimentality complements the company’s ironic capering, and the shy reediness of his singing voice strengthens the appeal of lyrics steeled with resolution.” On Kermit the Frog.
  • Long-lost Kerouac.
  • Long-lost Brontë.
  • Long-lost Walt Disney, in pictures.
  • The lost art of titles.
  • “You better get fitted for a black eyepatch in case one of yours gets gouged out by a bushy-haired stranger in a dimly lit parking lot. How fast can you learn Braille?” Cruel rejection letters.
  • Judy Blume: “I would cry when the rejections came in—the first couple of times, anyway—and I would go to sleep feeling down, but I would wake up in the morning optimistic and saying, ‘Well, maybe they didn't like that one, but wait till they see what I'm going to do next.’”
  • Miranda July sets up shop in SoHo.
  • Pippa instructs on how to be the perfect party hostess.
  • Margaret Atwood draws!
  • Obama pushes books!
  • Ray Bradbury relents!
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