“It is a sad irony that the snake’s rattle, which functions as a warning device, is widely regarded as a bellicose drumroll, or war-cry, instead. It may well have been in a mood of remorse for having killed a rattlesnake on impulse that [William] Bartram, vowing solemnly that he ‘would never again be accessory to the death of a rattle snake,’ painted his marvelous portrait of a coiled rattler.” Christopher Benfey on Rattlesnake Island, a sanctuary set up to protect the woodland serpents from their greatest danger — us.
“Stop smoking, first of all, and then don’t hold your breath, don’t cough, do not for any reason pick up heavy packages, boxes, suitcases. Never lean over, or dive headfirst into water. The carnal throes of passion were forbidden, because even an ardent kiss could cause my veins to burst.” At long last, Lina Meruane’s semi-autobiographical novel Seeing Red has been published in English. Meruane has long been hailed as one of the most brilliant South American writers that American readers had probably never heard of.
“It is not, however, fashionable to love acknowledgments, and for good reason: Most of them are numbingly predictable in their architecture, little Levittowns of gratitude.” In her last piece for The New York Times as a daily book critic, Jennifer Senior writes about her unabashed love for acknowledgements in books. From our archives: Henriette Lazaridis‘s essay on the same topic.
Joel Rice has a new column up at McSweeney’s, in which he looks at “the literature of skateboarding.” All in all, this kind of reflective writing should pair nicely with Nick Courage’s fantastic Paris Review piece from last month. (Bonus: Rice’s column linked above also features a nice little bit of David Foster Wallace memorabilia.)