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Posts Tagged ‘recommendation’

Staff Picks: Comparing Backbones, Jennifer Egan’s Journalism

March 4, 2011 | by

Photograph by Janette Beckman.

Christopher Sorrentino sent me this curiosity: a version of the David Foster Wallace story “Backbone” that compares the recent New Yorker version to a transcript of Wallace reading the story in 2000. —Lorin Stein

Jennifer Egan kicks off the new New York Times Magazine with a cover story about Lori Berenson. —Thessaly La Force

If you’re in the mood for having your brain bent ever so slightly out of shape, I recommend the lean, astringent fairy tales collected in Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Kingdoms of Elfin. Originally published in The New Yorker, just a few years before Angela Carter took her postmodern butcher knife to classics like “Puss in Boots,” they came at the end of an utterly singular literary life that quietly stretched across the last century. Warner’s fairies are humanly imperfect and the world they inhabit is mean and capricious, but the writing itself is a substance for which it is worth developing an addiction. —Jonathan Gharraie

This week I was sad to learn about the passing of Reverend Peter Gomes, Harvard’s Plummer Professor of Christian Morals. Among the many articles reflecting on his remarkable career in academics, politics, and religious life, I found this blog post, which includes many quotes by him, as a perfect tribute to both his sense of humor and immense wisdom. He will be greatly missed. —Natalie Jacoby

Growing up among the alligator-infested swamps of South Florida, Paul Kwiatkowski reminisces about his middle-school exploits in “Lions,” an excerpt from an upcoming novel and photo essay called “And Every Day Was Overcast.” —Angela Melamud

Who can keep up with events in the Middle East? So many dictators falling, so many squares full of people. One of the most acute and comprehensive sites for analysis is Jadaliyya—a cooperative of academics, journalists, and other informed people. I’ve been reading it constantly for the past month. —Robyn Creswell

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Staff Picks: Literary Video Games, Return of ‘Spy’ Magazine

February 18, 2011 | by

The other evening at East Village Books I picked up a used copy of Dawn Powell’s 1936 novel, Turn, Magic Wheel, stopped at Second Avenue and Seventh, and settled in to the opening scene ... only to realize that I’d been walking in the footsteps of the writer-hero, Dennis Orphen—and that he, too, had just come to a halt at Second and Seventh. I half expected him to walk in the door. Powell has a way of collapsing the decades between one literary New York and another. Orphen’s sin, to have used a friend as material, is as old as his profession and feels as fresh as Thursday night. —Lorin Stein

I’ve been playing a lost Nintendo video game that was supposedly found at a yard sale and purchased for fifty cents. (In fact, it was recently created by San Francisco-based developer Charlie Hoey.) Why the mention? It’s modeled after The Great Gatsby. Says the Web site: “You’re not in the middle west anymore, son. Welcome to the Wild West Egg.” The Atlantic writes, “At least now we know why Gatsby couldn’t make it to the blinking green light: Sand Crabs.” —Sam Dolph

It seemed like a good idea at the time: the full publication archive of Spy magazine is now available via Google Books. —David Wallace-Wells

I’ve been thumbing through the pages of Lauren Redniss’s Radioactive, an illustrated biography about Marie and Pierre Curie. There’s a show of the book currently at the New York Public Library (where Redniss did much of her research as a Cullman fellow). Not long ago, Dwight Garner praised the book in the Times, saying, “Her people have elongated faces and pale forms; they’re etiolated Modiglianis. They populate a Paris that’s become a dream city.” Spooky and beautiful—Redniss’s work is worth taking a look. —Thessaly La Force

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