“I had seen enough movies to know that when a knife is tossed by the hero to someone in need, it lands exactly where it should. So I picked up the knife, and I centered myself. ‘Be the hero,’ I whispered.” Caroline Paul’s The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, “part memoir, part manifesto, part aspirational workbook,” encourages everyone to add a little more adventure to their lives. Angela Qian writes about the adventure of learning to read in another language.
As the lone mental hospital in The Magic Mountain referred to by its real name, the Hotel Schatzalp is a holy site for many Thomas Mann scholars and fans. At Page-Turner, Sally McGrane writes about the modern hotel, which employs a staff trained to deal with the occasional “literary fanatic.” (It also might be a good time to read Matthew Gallaway on Death in Venice.)
Symmetry’s addictive. Beethoven sought it in the order of chords, Einstein in the logic of theory. Countless writers, too, have sought its imprint in the perfect mot juste. In Aeon Magazine, Philip Ball pleads fervently against the pursuit of beauty in logic, and logic in beauty. “There’s a reason why our galleries are not, on the whole, filled with paintings of perfect spheres… the search for an ideal, perfect Platonic form of the table amid spirals, hypercubes and pyramids has an air of desperation.”
This week in the New Yorker Jane Hu analyzes the “dispassionate first-person narrators” prominent in works by English-speaking Asian authors and questions whether that makes it easier to identify with the narrator. She uses Chemistry by NBA 5 under 35 honoree Weike Wang as an example along with other recent works. “Against this tradition, there is, perhaps, another emerging, of Asian-Anglophone writers who both play with and thus begin to undo these tropes of Asian impersonality. The novels by Ishiguro, Park, Lin, and Wang all feature first-person narrators who keep their distance—actively denying readers direct interior access. This is true, it’s important to note, even when the characters they write are not themselves Asian.”
Denise Donlon writes on the day MuchMusic rocked the tube. Peter Mansbridge details when baseball player Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. And Conrad Black outlines a train trip by Canada’s first prime minister. Those are but a few of the essays by well-known Canadian personalities in the new book 100 Days That Changed Canada (HarperCollins Canada), now in stores.