Posts Tagged ‘reading’
February 12, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
December 4, 2012 | by Sadie Stein
October 23, 2012 | by Brian Cullman
There was a fascinating if incomplete musing on the New Yorker website this week regarding Neil Young’s insularity and on the incomprehensible idea that he never reads. It seemed strange that someone who doesn't read would decide to write a book, though it’s often true that writing and reading aren’t necessarily two sides of the same coin. They are often very different coins, operating in very different currencies. When you go to a bank to make change, the exchange rate is never in your favor.
I forwarded the piece to my friend Bill Flicker, out in Los Angeles, who wrote back that he never listens to Neil Young’s words, that they are simply placeholders or crumbs that are scattered on a walk through a musical forest. Actually, I do listen to his words. Not always. But when I listen, they’re remarkably visual and evocative:
Blue blue windows behind the stars.
Yellow moon on the rise.
Purple words on a grey background
To be a woman and to be turned down
How did those windows get behind the stars? I don’t know, but I can see them clearly. Sometimes as a child's drawing. Sometimes as a reflection on an airplane window. There may not be logic involved, but there is something deeper than that. Read More »
April 8, 2011 | by Lorin Stein
I always tell people that my favorite book is Infinite Jest, and even though I haven’t gotten halfway through it, it’s still the best half of a book that I have ever read! Do you have any guilt from unread books floating around?
Hmm. You mean books I’ve started that, if the title of one should happen to come up in conversation, I’d nod, implying—without ever explicitly stating—that I’d read the whole thing? I can think of one or two. The Man Without Qualities, The Magic Mountain, Ulysses, Blood Meridian, Molloy, Jane Eyre, Being and Nothingness, Being and Time, American Pastoral, The Recognitions, Gravity’s Rainbow, V., Vanity Fair, The Education of Henry Adams, The Beautiful and Damned, The Satanic Verses, Underworld, The World as Will and Representation, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Hopscotch, Tristram Shandy, The Long Goodbye, The Hobbit, Shikasta, Contempt, Scaramouche, Watership Down, The Three Musketeers, and William Faulkner (pretty much opera omnia) spring to mind.
Dear Mr. Stein,
I have lately searched in vain for the right collective noun for toadstools and, in the absence of any viable candidates, have opted for sect, e.g., “a sect of toadstools.” May I in good conscience proceed? I trust your judgment. Thank you.
We are not prescriptivists, here at The Paris Review. Over the years our house usage has wobbled between OK and okay, et cetera and its abbreviation—even (in the old, hot-type days) between one typeface and another ... in the space of a single issue. If you want to call a bunch of fungus by your own private collective noun, who are we to say no? Go crazy with that! I only worry that the plural may cause confusion.
Have a question for The Paris Review? E-mail us.
March 18, 2011 | by Nick Liptak
Elizabeth Bishop only published about one hundred poems during her lifetime, but these days, it’s possible to know more about Bishop than ever before. Last month saw the publication of a new book revealing her decades-long correspondence with The New Yorker’s poetry department. “What I think about The New Yorker,” she wrote to her friend and fellow poet Marianne Moore, “can only be expressed like this: *!@!!!@!*!!” A lengthy volume documenting her epistolary exchanges with Robert Lowell was published in 2008. It’s easy to forget that Bishop was a very private person, often refusing to talk publicly or artistically about her personal life. “How stunning,” wrote The New York Times, in 2002, of a Bishop biography, “to learn that the love of Bishop’s life was a swaggering Brazilian woman, the aristocratic self-trained architect Lota de Macedo Soares.” “Art just isn’t worth that much,” Bishop once wrote to Lowell, after he had published his wife’s letters in his work. But for admirers and diehards alike, sometimes an inquiry is.
And so I found myself at a gathering in a downtown apartment last week for an event called the Wilde Boys: a queer poetry salon, where Richard Howard, who knew Bishop, and his former student Gabrielle Calvocoressi, the author of Apocalyptic Swing, were invited to “queer” the writer by talking about the way she coded sexuality into her work.
Beforehand, there was heavy mingling. “We’re all poets and classmates, and graduated from different M.F.A. programs in New York around the same time,” said Alex Dimitrov, the well-groomed twenty-six-year-old who founded the group in 2009. Liam O’Rourke, an elementary-school teacher who was wearing a pin with a black-and-white photograph of Bishop on it, said he teaches Bishop to his third graders. “I mention that she had a partner, but I don’t teach her sexuality as a key to her work,” he added.
February 25, 2011 | by The Paris Review
A surprise discovery at my local library’s book sale: our own William Pène du Bois’s 1971 children’s tale, Bear Circus. Koala bears discover the supplies from a crashed pink circus plane and put on a show to thank their friends, the kangaroos. Highly recommended for the juvenile set. —Nicole Rudick
Sometimes, I don’t know why, I want to read short stories—but like, a bunch of short stories. This week I’ve gone back to Joy Williams’s Honored Guest and sampled Justin Taylor’s first collection, Everything Here Is the Best Thing Ever. —Lorin Stein
Nathan Heller has a beautiful essay in Slate about stuttering: “At 3, those sentences first met with some resistance on my tongue, the way a car moves off asphalt, onto dirt—and then, finally, across rocks that jolt the tires and make it hard to track where you are headed. Today, I am still being jolted, and the jagged terrain behind bears the track marks of my own innumerable small humiliations.” —Thessaly La Force
I started the week with this fantastic piece of reluctant Hemingway-ese by Libyan novelist Hisham Matar and then felt compelled to reread his rueful, angry, but ultimately dignified sliver of memoir, from last year, about his father’s abduction. His consummate poise attests to an extraordinary imaginative stamina in the most difficult of circumstances, but there are moments from that earlier piece where he almost anticipates the tumult and excitement of the past few weeks: “This is tremendous news. Tremendous in the way a storm or flood can be tremendous. Uncanny how reality presses against that precious quiet place of dreaming. As if life is jealous of fiction.” That new novel can’t come quickly enough! —Jonathan Gharraie