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Tag Archives: Cormac McCarthy

 

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  • On the Shelf

    Politics, Nerds, Gunpowder

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  • Cormac McCarthy’s notes reveal a recipe for gunpowder and a very different Blood Meridian.
  • Goodreads compares the reading habits of Romney and Obama supporters.
  • J. K. Rowling returns to children’s fiction.
  • “Using adverbs is a mortal sin,” and other rules for writing fiction from prominent writers.
  • Ten essential reads for books nerds.
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  • This Week’s Reading

    What We’re Loving: Kim’s Video, Grant’s Memoirs

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    Even if you’ve never read a book about the Civil War, the Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant will grip your imagination. Dictated by Grant on his deathbed, championed and published by Mark Twain, celebrated by Matthew Arnold and Edmund Wilson (who compared it to Walden and Leaves of Grass), the Memoirs were cited by Gertrude Stein as a main influence on her own prose. However you may write, you’ll find their power is contagious. Every page is a lesson in force, clarity, and grace under pressure. To read Grant’s description of a military problem, then to read the orders he gave, is, among other things, to see a great modern writer at work. —Lorin Stein

    Have you ever imagined a music video as you listen to a song? Sigur Ros asked a dozen filmmakers to do just that with songs from their new album. The results are pretty great, but my favorite—and I’m hardly impartial—is Dash Shaw’s animated (I mean that literally) take on “Valtari.” Penned with Shortbus and Hedwig writer John Cameron Mitchell, the video features backgrounds by Frank Santoro, whose colors are, as ever, divine. —Nicole Rudick

    If you’re in agreement with a friend of mine who considers most recent American covers of Cormac McCarthy’s novels “oversaturated Windows wallpapers” (why yes, Cormac, that horse is very pretty), then perhaps you will be both pleased and envious to know that the British ones now look like this, and apparently have for some time. Thanks to the now-defunct Aesthetic Book Blog for this gritty eye candy. And check out The Millions’ annualish comparison of American and British book covers for further contemplation.  —Samuel Fox

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  • Softball

    TPR vs. The Nation; or, The Evening Redness in Lower Manhattan

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    Team    |1|2|3|4|5|6|7   Total

    TPR     |0|0|3|0|0|1|0    4
    NAT     |5|0|0|0|4|0|X    9

    Within the first minute the slaughter had become general. —Blood Meridian

    Themes found in Cormac McCarthy’s grotesque 1985 masterpiece, Blood Meridian, hereby presented in descending order relative to how closely they can be applied to a postgame dissection of last week’s softball game against The Nation:

    1. Destruction, Chaos
    Blood Meridian is essentially a chronicle of destruction, a hurricane of terrible things like knives and guns and dead babies. This game, while not a massacre of flesh, was nonetheless a massacre (maybe of the human spirit?). From the onset, our side played a sloppy game; a slew of early errors gave The Nation a first-inning lead they would not relinquish. Like in the novel, the slaughter was complete; unlike in the novel, it was mostly self-inflicted.

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  • On Music

    A Mark So Fine: Joe Henry and You

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    Photograph by Michael Wilson.

    In November of 2001, I picked up Joe Henry’s album Scar and was stunned by the opening track, a slow blues number called “Richard Pryor Addresses a Tearful Nation.” Henry, a white man, sang from the point of view of the black icon, expressing the comedian’s love-hate relationship with himself and his audience. Henry had the audacity and sensitivity to pull it off, with help from a spiraling, dipping, dripping saxophone solo by Ornette Coleman.

    Scar was released in May of that year. Henry couldn’t have known how tearful the nation would be that fall. He closed the album with these lines from the title track, sung in a careful, mournful tempo:

    The blade of our outrageous fortune,
    Like a parade, it cuts a path.
    Light shows on our foolish way
    And darkness on
    Our aftermath.

    If I love you, to save myself
    And you love me because we are
    So fool to think that our parade
    Could leave a path
    And not a scar.
    And I love you with all I am
    And you love me with what you are,
    As pretty as a twisting vine
    A mark so fine
    But still a scar.

    The album resonated with me throughout that first post–September 11 holiday season, more than Dylan’s “Love and Theft”, which was released on that particular Tuesday, a coincidence that generated new claims of clairvoyance from Dylanologists. Henry’s album cuts deeper. Read More

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