Yesterday, our own Elizabeth Minkel pondered if Twitter fiction could be real art. She cited Teju Cole, a literary Twitter master, but what does he have to say about how Twitter affects his writing? “My memory is worse than it was a few years ago, but I hope that my ability to write a good sentence has improved,” he told The New York Times.
For over twenty years, from the thirties through the fifties, a group of Oxford writers who called themselves The Inklings met weekly to drink, exchange ideas and read aloud their drafts. Though J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were easily their most famous members, the group had other notable figures, among them the language historian Arthur Owen Barfield. In The Chronicle of Higher Education, a history of the group.
Nicole Krauss has taken her family to deserts in Chile, a lice-infested nursery in Tel Aviv, Sarajevo, Capri, and even the Arctic, but she’s never been on a beach vacation. She tries to relax and searches for the meaning of paradise in Turks and Caicos in her essay for Condé Nast Traveler.
Last week, I told you about Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Eighty Books No Woman Should Read,” which is a tongue-in-cheek riff on Esquire’s “80 Books Every Man Must Read” list. Now, here’s a fascinating rebuttal from Electric Literature in which Sigal Samuel ponders what might be gained by reading sexist old white guys.
Are you a guy with good taste in frames and fiction? Then come to the next I Like Your Glasses: Literary Speed Dating. CoverSpy and Housing Works Bookstore Cafe will be hosting the event on February 12 at the store. Tickets are $15 (including a free drink), but gents can get their tickets for $12 if they use the promotional code “QUEEQUEG.” To see what you’re in for, read our essay on attending the first I Like Your Glasses.
“Language on a daily basis is being recycled. Our students are learning the language of the old and new masters; they are taking them in, mixing their words with the language they know, creating something new. Yet something there remains. Something familiar. Something like a forgotten first kiss. Like a well-known song sung in a different language.” Ira Sukrungruang on “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Deep Reading and Mimicry, With an Ending that Totally Plagiarizes Wallace Stevens.” After all, who doesn’t want to plagiarize Wallace Stevens?
The Atavist has been killing it lately. Last month, I was riveted by Joshuah Bearman’s outrageous (and completely true) story of one Brit’s attempt to bring a “Baghdad Country Club” to the city’s Green Zone. This month, “Mother, Stranger,” Cris Beam’s account of her abusive mother–a distant relative of William Faulkner–had me on the verge of tears.
If you find cat hair in a book you checked out of the Novorossiysk Library, don’t worry. It belongs to the newest librarian. Kuzya the cat started off as a pet at the Russian library but was promoted after patronage increased due to his presence. The new library assistant even wears a bow tie.
After a Boston attorney banned the publication of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman set out to defend the book, arguing that the sex that earned the book censorship was an integral part of the experience he wanted to convey. In an essay for Salon, John Marsh examines Whitman’s defense in light of the content of his work, exploring the ways in which he upset Puritan mores. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on how Walt Whitman saved his life.