Doors of Perception author Aldous Huxley requested a dose of LSD as he succumbed to laryngeal cancer in 1963. Three weeks later, Huxley’s widow, Laura Archera, wrote a letter describing the experience (“the most beautiful death”) to her brother-in-law. Today the prescription of psychedelic drugs to terminally ill patients is less uncommon than you might expect.
“Most of all, they don’t tell you that fear, to reverse a phrase from C. S. Lewis, will feel so like grief, and so you begin to mourn what you have not yet lost, because mourning prematurely is the only way to protect yourself from hope.” For Catapult, Laura Turner writes about her trio of miscarriages and the hope she lost (and found) along the way. (Turner is a 2017 Year in Reading alum).
“Like reading, love works in roughly the same way every time, but the details of any given case are irreducibly particular, and it’s in the details that everything happens.” Lidija Haas on Elif Batuman’s debut novel, The Idiot. (You could also read our review by Virginia Marshall.)
“In contemporary capitalist societies, libraries stand out as slightly odd. While people are generally accustomed to going into a store and having to pay if they plan on leaving with something – in a library this relationship is quite different.” From AirBnB to Zipcar, startups premised on the so-called “sharing economy” tout themselves as radical and disruptive. Except that another institution – the public library – has been offering communal property for hundreds of years.
Not that the circumstances are always ideal, as our own Jacob Lambert attests in his “Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book.”