Posts Tagged: New York Review of Books

Vocabulary Lessons in Bucharest

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I felt unhinged in my moments of isolation, and frustrated in my muteness. ...more

Literature Tricks or Political Threats?

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So familiar have the aesthetic conventions of horror become that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish “real” Halloween movies from parodies. Something similar has occurred in our political life.

At the New York Review of Books, Christopher Benfey shares a brief history of collisions between humor and horror in Western literature (and American politics).

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Into Paradox

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Peter E. Gordon writes about Søren Kierkegaard’s legacy through the lens of Daphne Hampson’s biography, Kierkegaard: Exposition and Critique, which she dedicates to S.K. for helping her grasp “with greater clarity why I should not wish to be Christian.”

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All That Is Suggested of Trauma

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At the New York Review of Books, Joyce Carol Oates writes about Shirley Jackson through her seminal story “The Lottery,” her contemporaneous public perception via hate mail, the figure of her presented in literary biographies, the self she expressed in essays and works of memoir, her marriage made in hell, her abuse of powerful psychotropic drugs—amounting to a wonderfully haunting literary presence in the American Canon.

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Sex and Social Media

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Zoë Heller writes about American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales and Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein: how each book deals with the concepts of female “hotness” and body positivity in the social media age—as well as her own critiques of books that may fall within the genre of “middle-aged people complaining about the mores of the young.”

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Darryl Pinckney

The Saturday Rumpus Interview: Darryl Pinckney

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If your family or your people are looking over your shoulder, change your seat or push them away. Ask them to trust you with the truth. ...more

Baldwin’s Paradoxes and Epithets

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Race was—is—the fundamental American issue, underlying not only all matters of public policy (economic inequality, criminal justice, housing, education) but the very psyche of the nation.

Nathaniel Rich, for the New York Review of Books, writes a loving tribute to and overview of the works of James Baldwin: the intellectual as impossible to be pinned down, writing transcendently about the present.

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Lorrie Moore on Wisconsin and Steven Avery

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Lorrie Moore writes an extensive ode to her weird home state of Wisconsin, and its newest national sensation, the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer. The well-acclaimed Wisconsin author’s viewpoint on the series and its setting is interesting, to say the least, and well-deserving of its patented Lorrie Moore Exclamation Points.

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Strangely in the Middle

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If rats then represent terror and chickens innocent striving for something approaching authenticity, humans, for Lispector, are strangely in the middle, often stricken with fear, or handing out terror, but ready also to soar or break loose or achieve some freedom or be fully alert to their fate in a time short enough for one of her stories to be enacted.

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Patti Smith’s “Obsessively Literary” New Memoir

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Over at the New York Review of Books, Geoffrey O’Brien discusses iconic poet and punk-rocker Patti Smith’s new memoir, M Train:

What the book expresses supremely well is the tentativeness of every movement forward, the sense of following a path so risky, so sketchily perceptible, that at any moment one might go astray and never be heard from again, never perhaps even hear from the deepest part of oneself again.

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What Separates Us From the Dolphins?

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Can dolphin sonar penetrate the steel hull of a boat—and pinpoint a stilled heart? Can dolphins empathize with human bereavement? Is dolphin society organized enough to permit the formation of a funeral cavalcade?

The New York Review of Books reviews Carl Safina’s Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel and explores what, if anything, separates humans from other animals.

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The Lobster, or a Critique of Circe’s New Dating App

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In a world where no romantic attachment meant you were turned into an animal, which creature would your lonely self choose?

Francine Prose, author of Bullyville, Blue Angels, and many others, writes about the strange, wholly imagined parallel worlds of Yorgos Lanthimos, whose new movie The Lobster premiered at the New York Film Festival in August.

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The National Book of America, According to Borges

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The English tend to be reserved, reticent, but Shakespeare flows like a great river, he abounds in hyperbole and metaphor—he’s the complete opposite of an English person. Or, in Goethe’s case, we have the Germans who are easily roused to fanaticism but Goethe turns out to be the very opposite—a tolerant man… It’s as if each country looks for a form of antidote in the author it chooses.

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Word of the Day: Oblivescence

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(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.

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