The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘reading’

Confessions of an Accidental Book-Burner

August 14, 2013 | by


My name is Michele Filgate, and I am a book burner.

The first thing you need to understand: I love books. I’m the kind of girl who volunteered at the local independent bookstore when I was in middle school, just so I could get the staff discount. I come by this honestly; my grandmother was fired from her first job because she was caught reading behind the clothing racks. While some girls spent hours playing house and naming their dolls, I whiled away entire play dates alphabetizing my personal library with my best friend. Nowadays, I’m a fan of marginalia—but I cringe at the idea of even dog-earing a page.

In 2007, I was young and naive and penniless. My first job out of college was one of those typical sixty-to-seventy-hour-a-week gigs that so many new-to-New York dreamers end up in. Specifically, I was a production secretary, and later a broadcast associate, at the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. 

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Emma Cline’s “Marion”

August 9, 2013 | by


In the first three years that I edited The Paris Review—a reader pointed out last spring—we never published a short story from a child’s point of view. This wasn’t a matter of principle. I just like stories in which the narrator knows as much as possible. I like to see a writer stretch to represent a consciousness as big, as clued-in, as grown-up as the reader’s own mind. What’s called dramatic irony—where the writer and reader sort of conspire together over the narrator’s head—doesn’t interest me. Except every once in a while, when it does.

From the first sentence of “Marion”—“Cars the color of melons and tangerines sizzled in cul-de-sac driveways”—Emma Cline takes us inside the thoughts of an eleven-year-old girl who does not always understand the adults around her, or the sexual desires of her older best friend, but who intensely feels their heat. The language is so vivid, Cline registers her confusion so exactly, that she creates the same confusion in the reader. Part of us knows what’s going on between these girls, part of us is lost and needs the story to take us by the hand. Which it brilliantly does, as you will hear in this excerpt read by Cline herself.

Read the full story in our Summer 2013 issue.



What Reader Species Are You?

July 19, 2013 | by

I had, I admit, become a jaded infographic skeptic. No more! I said to myself. And then, one day, in the midst of a heat wave, you run across an infographic so intriguing, so well laid-out, so Linnaean, that you think: Yes. I am a human being and man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is, etc.


(Click to view at original large size.)

Infographic by Laura E. Kelly.



Donna Stonecipher’s “Model City”

July 16, 2013 | by


I am partial to sentences with this framework: “There are two kinds of [ ]: those who [ ], and those who [ ].” The setup should, ideally, involve a chiasmus or double entendre or any florid rhetorical device that offsets the blatant generalization being made. The best of such sentences are aware of their blatant generalizations but strive for truth anyway, recklessly. That’s the last line of this recording. Stonecipher’s syntactical attempt to polarize the past and future sinks as it tries to swim, for she—or the general truth of life—has already convinced us that the past, present, and future are in flux.

Read the full poem in our Summer 2013 issue.



Live Like William Blake, and Other News

July 16, 2013 | by


  • The picturesque West Sussex cottage where William Blake lived, sometimes nude, from 1800–1803 (the period during which he wrote “Jerusalem”) is on the market for £650,000. The agent says, “The original part of the cottage has been altered little in its essential features. The rooms in which William Blake lived retain enormous character and the dining room was at this time the site of his printing press.”
  • Reading (along with writing and doing puzzles) improves cognitive function in old age, a study shows.
  • In which writers such as Emma Straub and Matthew Specktor discourse on their favorite literary streets.
  • Google’s Kafka doodle was not remotely Kafkaesque, Twitter feels.
  • July 17, obviously, is Take Your Poet to Work Day. Herewith, handy cutouts of several bards. Blake not included (but that’s probably a good thing).


    Henri Cole’s “Self-Portrait with Rifle”

    July 2, 2013 | by

    Abraham Hondius, The Deer Hunt, ca. 1650–95.

    Abraham Hondius, The Deer Hunt (detail), ca. 1650–95.

    Henri Cole contributed two poems to our Summer issue, “Self-Portrait with Rifle” and “Free Dirt.” They pair well; both wrestle with the baseness humanity is capable of, and particularly with the surprise we feel when we find such baseness in ourselves. “Self-Portrait with Rifle” illustrates this shock with a jarring scene: a man holding a gun, indignant at his victims—innocent deer—for yielding their lives to his misplaced violence.