Other

Notable NYC: 7/4–7/10

By

Saturday 7/4: Macy’s celebrates independence from the English King with fireworks. East River, 9 p.m., free.

Monday 7/6: Tony Hoagland reads from Twenty Poems That Could Save America. BookCourt, 7 p.m., free.

Tuesday 7/7: Julia Fierro celebrates the paperback release of Cutting Teeth, the comedic domestic drama about Brooklyn families on vacation.

...more

How to Chart a Course Through the Metaphors in Your Mind

By

Why do we refer to our minds in terms of seas and cartography, anyway? Find out by consulting your sextant and the first online metaphor map. The chart boasts over 14,000 metaphorical connections, sourced from 4,000,000 lexical data points by a few Scottish researchers who now (presumably) have some excellent new phrases for spinning yarns and embroidering thoughts at dinner parties.

...more

This Week in Short Fiction

By

If you’re looking for something to read over the Fourth of July weekend, you’re in luck. This week gave us brand-new issues of Virginia Quarterly Review and PANK to peruse in the beer-buzzed downtime between barbecues and fireworks.

VQR’s summer issue is all about California, “as an idea and a place,” as the Editor’s Note says.

...more

What You Can Read at the Guantánamo Bay Detainee Library

By

Prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay have access to 18,000 books in 18 different languages, including Arabic translations of King Lear, Anna Karenina, and Stephen King thrillers. But books deemed critical of the US government, including Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Noam Chomsky’s Interventions, and various John Grisham novels, are banned.

...more

That Looks Disgusting

By

Lilian Min writes for The Toast about the tangled politics of ugly food:

I grew up in a household that was comfortable with farts, burps, intense smells, and food that facilitated all of the above. My dad would eat raw garlic and chase my sister and me around the kitchen, and then the whole family would sit down for dinner rich in not just garlic, but also ginger, hoisin sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil, and a thousand other strong scents and flavors.

...more

Figure Drawing, Or, The Posthumous Persona Of David Foster Wallace

By

On the eve of a new biopic and on the long tail of posthumous publishing and popularization—Christian Lorentzen takes a long, compassionate, critical look at David Foster Wallace and on the ways in which a prolific writer gets written into the public memory—as intellectual behemoth, creative luminary, contemptuous snob, major depressive, motivational speaker:

A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.

...more

For Sale: Nick Carraway’s House

By

The house appears to blend in with its landscape, almost disappear beside canopy trees until it’s in danger of becoming an afterthought. There is nothing particularly regal about it. It’s the type of place one of Fitzgerald’s characters would have driven by and forgotten about by the time his motorcar rounded the next bend, or never noticed at all.

...more

Choose Your Own Cover Art

By

It’s well-known by the literary crowd that authors don’t get to choose the artwork for their book covers. Except when they do, as in the case of Naomi Jackson, author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, who convinced her publisher to use Sheena Rose’s painting “Too Much Makeup” as her cover:

I shrieked with joy when I saw the galleys of The Star Side of Bird Hill earlier this year.

...more

Word of the Day: Oblivescence

By

(n.); the process of forgetting;

“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. When we read a book for the first time, the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation.”

–Vladmir Nabokov, from “Good Readers and Good Writers”

This week, Tim Parks takes us on a wonderfully meditative reflection on something we tend, as readers, to take for granted: the physical act of moving one’s eyes across the page, of engaging with words, and—unavoidably—forgetting them.

...more