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Posts Tagged ‘The Art of War’

Mourning Lincoln, and Other News

February 15, 2016 | by


  • Happy Presidents’ Day! Martha Hodes’s Mourning Lincoln has won the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. The prize committee described the NYU Professor’s book as “a stunning and enlightening work that underscores the rage that Lincoln’s assassination fueled, the outpouring of grief that resulted, and how the anger and confusion that boiled across the country that summer influenced the failures of Reconstruction.”
  • Related: there are comic books devoted to the lives of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush, and, obviously, Donald Trump. 
  • Irin Carmon, author of the recent Notorious RBG, discusses Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous cross-aisle friendship with her judicial adversary, the late Antonin Scalia. “Ironically, Scalia’s death has laid bare just how endangered such comity now is in Washington.” So don’t expect to see an ironic political takeoff of Unlikely Friendships at your local Urban Outfitters any time soon, which I’d been privately cherishing as a million-dollar idea. 
  • It’ll surprise no one that reading is good for the brain: a recent Emory University study found that “reading can heighten connectivity in the left cortex of the brain after the fact. The activity is potential evidence that while we imagine the events in a book, the brain activity allows us to feel immersion.” The buried heartbreaker? Apparently Pew finds that only 72 percent of Americans read a book in the last year. Which is, yes, a passing grade, but also a C-.
  • Speaking of! What do “millionaire entrepreneurs” read? According to this article, exactly what you’d expect: The Art of War, The Tipping Point, and, obviously, The Elements of Style. Quoth Leon Rbibo, president of The Pearl Source, “If you can’t write—if you can’t clearly and concisely express yourself, your goals, your objectives, and your strategy you’re not going to make it very far as an entrepreneur. Rewrite your elevator pitch after reading this book. I guarantee you’ll impress yourself.” Well, that too.

Thurber Insults and Library Dreams

March 28, 2012 | by

A cultural news roundup.

  • Happy seventy-sixth, Mario Vargas Llosa!
  • Muggles get the Harry Potter treatment in Florida. “At Ollivanders, the wand shop, character actors put on a show. With a few dozen people crowded into a room, a bearded wizard proceeds to help a child select a wand. ‘Descendo!’ he cries. Boxes tumble down and the shelves fall apart on cue. It was the wrong wand. ‘Repairo!’ he cries. The shelves put themselves back together. The long-bearded gent eventually gives the girl an Ash wand, ‘an excellent wand for a charismatic, successful wizard.’”
  • You can even read the books!
  • At forty-two, historical novelist Rabee Jaber is the youngest winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
  • On the plus side, James Thurber wrote back to his fans. “One of the things that discourage us writers is the fact that 90 per cent of you children write wholly, or partly, illiterate letters, carelessly typed. You yourself write ‘clarr’ for ‘class’ and that’s a honey, Robert, since s is next to a, and r is on the line above.”
  • An ode to the thesaurus.
  • How about a little fancy-library porn? (This Johns Hopkins professor totally beats Lagerfeld in the library stakes.)
  • Book origami.
  • Henry James is the most-studied writer.
  • Did it really take this long to make an Art of War graphic novel?

    Chad Harbach on ‘The Art of Fielding’

    September 20, 2011 | by

    Chad Harbach. Photo by Beowulf Sheehan.

    The Art of Fielding, Chad Harbach’s first novel, is a book about baseball in the way that Moby-Dick is a book about whaling—it is and it isn’t. The shortstop at the center of the novel is Henry Skrimshander, an idiot savant in the field, who is recruited to play for the Harpooners of Westish College, a small school on the shores of Lake Michigan. Harbach was kind enough to answer a few questions by e-mail from his home in Brooklyn.

    What was your position?

    Over the course of my twelve-year baseball career (which ended when I was seventeen), I played the middle infield—short and second both.

    Did you have any hopes of playing in college?

    Not really. I was Henry-like (though with hardly a shred of his talent) in the sense that I was a good athlete who was too small and slight. I blame my parents for starting me in school early and making me forever the youngest guy on the team. Read More »