Recommended Reading: The American Reader has some new John Ashbery poems. We love “Listening Tour.”
For San Francisco readers: There’s a new show of huge, surreal paper mache animal sculptures up at The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (December 4-17th). These paper beasts, featured in the San Francisco Symphony’s performance of Camille Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals” and created by local artist Colette Crutcher and her students, will be auctioned off to benefit the MCCLA at a party open to the public on December 17th.
Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
“I do not wish to presume. I want to love. Oh God please make my mind clear.” It’s no secret that Flannery O’Connor was both an incredible writer and a devout Catholic. The New Yorker has just published a few excerpts from her Prayer Journal which are characteristically beautiful whether or not you’re a believer.