Posts Tagged ‘books’



found via  http://damelola.tumblr.com/post/49436762258


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As in: a once-over of bars with literary cache, past, present, or imagined; new hotels of literary theme; and bookstores. I was disappointed in Garner’s article on several fronts, among them the mention but subsequent disregard of the lively Brooklyn scene (really, if there’s not a Part 2 that goes there next, the imbalance is absurd). Then there’s the lack of depth to the discussion of Manhattan’s literary history. But then it hit me: ahhh, this is in the travel section. It’s one of those pieces. The fact that it’s written by a Times book critic is really beside the point. So yes, something to skim and file away under your travel bookmarks for when you’re next in the Big Apple. There are sure to be a few interesting stops, old and new, worth a book (and/or booze) lover’s perusal. But look elsewhere for a richer take on the glory days of writing and publishing. And drinking. Perhaps crack open a copy of Max Perkins: Editor of Genius on one of those barstools to let the old ghosts really come alive. Heck, you don’t even need New York for that travel experience. Transport is but the cost of a brilliant biography.


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Science fiction is no longer the bastion of maledom that it once was, but we’re still far more likely to come across a man extolling the praises of Dune than we are a woman. Which is why I was delighted to see this piece by Leigh Bardugo on one of my favourite books of all time. Although I would never refer to it as a coming-of-age novel as she does here, I did discover Herbert’s masterpiece on my brother’s bookshelves at almost the same age as Bardugo did, and likewise relished in the voyage of discovery. (By the way: Bardugo’s post is found under a section titled “PG-13: Risky Reads.” Really, NPR, risky? For whom?)


It’s a cop-out to ascribe the appeal of science fiction and fantasy to escapism. Lots of literature is escapist and the very act of reading (whatever the content) necessarily takes you out of a given moment. For me, Dune was escapist, but more importantly, it was expansive. It was a glimpse at the infinite; at histories barely hinted at but wholly felt; at destinies constructed over millennia, thwarted in a lifetime and rebuilt in a heartbeat. Its scale was so vast that it literally redefined possibility for me.

I’d been slogging along, eyes on the ground, just trying to make it through another day of the relentless, petty slice and grind that is being a preteen girl. Herbert tilted my chin up so I could see the stars.

I did love immersing myself in that world, which I’ve done several times over the years. Hard to call any work escapist that has such a practical application as the Litany Against Fear. I too had it memorized and invoked it on numerous occasions. All together now:


I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

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Dear self-help industry: please to implement. From McSweeney’s. See ’em all here.


When All Else Fails, Name Your Self-Help Book After a Raymond Carver Story.

Are These Actual Miles on the Road to Success?

They’re Not Your Husband (They’re Your Future)

Nobody Said Anything About Failure

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When I first saw this mentioned over on Sully’s Daily Dish, I was on the verge of eye-rolling, but actually the question was hilariously put (the most pertinent bit, FTW: “I want to seem like a douchey intellectual instead of my deadbeat self”) and the answers– including the comments; you must scroll through the comments too– were definitely worth the read. I’m more of a nonfiction than fiction reader myself, so not in a great position to weigh in on many of the suggestions. You be the judge! Of course, literary beauty is in the eye of the beholder…


Portnoys Complaint,” said one, “may as well be Yiddish for douche.”


“There’s a difference,” remarked one colleague, “between getting a girl to think you’re smart, and getting a girl to WANT to talk to you. The following are books that will make girls want to talk to you…

Off you go!

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