“Who is this woman?…What yoga DVD did she escape from?” Chloë Schama criticizes the recent trend in book covers featuring women with their backs turned to the reader, including Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth and John Irving’s In One Person.
Eliza Griswold’s deeply affecting profile of the female poets in Afghanistan ran last April in the New York Times Magazine, and it’s certainly worth a read if you missed it back then. For those who read it and wanted more, though, definitely check out the Pulitzer Center’s multimedia package on all of Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy’s work, Afghanistan: On Love and Suicide.
Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals, died today at the age of 88, according to a statement released by his publisher. Pirsig’s work explored a system of thought called the “Metaphysics of Quality,” which has been defined as “a thesis that quality is the basis of reality, and that this understanding unifies most East Asian and Western thought.”
“Say surrender. Say alabaster. Switchblade. / Honeysuckle. Goldenrod. Say autumn. / Say autumn despite the green
in your eyes. Beauty despite / daylight. Say you’d kill for it. Unbreakable dawn / mounting in your throat. / My thrashing beneath you / like a sparrow stunned / with falling.” Last week, Ocean Vuong published his newest collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds. This week, it seems to be all anyone can talk about (because it’s fantastic). Here’s a piece from The New Yorker on Vuong and his designs for the English language.
Beginning with the same premise—one can only read so many books in a given lifetime—two authors write very different articles: Maria Bustillos lists the recommendations of George Orwell, Henry Miller, and John Waters that she’s followed in an effort to maximize her short reading life. Marc Wortman wonders if authors are being paid by the page and, given our short lives, whether we should even bother with the behemoth volumes coming out recently.