Literary Hub: On Terrible Writing Advice From Famous Writers.
I thought it was “those who can’t do, teach.”
New Yorker: How to Beat Writer’s Block.
“If one can remember an entire dream, the result is a sense of entertainment sufficiently marked to give one the illusion of being catapulted into a different world ... One finds oneself remote from one’s conscious preoccupations.”
Public Books: Turkey’s Progressive Past
“Many observers are already warning of a mass exodus of intellectuals in the wake of attacks on the press and academia.4 Hopefully, Turkey’s modern-day progressives can find some resolve in the Sertels’ unrelenting optimism and firm belief in their own country’s potential in the face of disturbingly similar challenges.”
NY Times Book Review: ‘And Then All Hell Broke Loose’.
Sounds like a must read. On my list.
New Yorker: Under the Crushing Weight of the Tuscan Sun.
“Recently, I watched my friend fill his dog’s bowl with Beneful Tuscan Style Medley dog food. This barely merited a raised eyebrow; I’d already been guilty of feeding my cat Fancy Feast’s White Meat Chicken Tuscany. Why deprive our pets of the pleasures of Tuscan living?”
Haven’t had a chance to read through, but they sound like first-person adoptee stories.
FSotI: A Crash Course in the History of Black Science Fiction.
Altantic: How Has the MFA Changed the Contemporary Novel?
LRB: Hilary Mantel reviews ‘Charles Brandon’ by Steven Gunn.
The Millions: Poor Davy! Two Thoroughly Modern Women Discuss David Copperfield.
“Like, hey, who knew? Charles Dickens is a really great writer!” As Dickens himself said, “There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.” This is serious.
Standpoint: But Have They Starved?
“The Distressed Poet made his appearance in print in 1736. He was still there, in the same attitude and in want of money and inspiration, in 1836. By 1936 his quill pen had become a typewriter. In 2016, it is a MacBook.”
That moment of realization ...
... when you see someone tagging a 70’s set of engraved books as ‘antiques’, and realizing you yourself are a good quarter-century older than those aforesaid ‘antiques’ ...
Literary Hub: The Beautiful, Proto-Feminist Snark of Jane Austen’s Juvenilia.
For any Austen fan. Perhaps things haven’t changed so much after all.
NPR: Supreme Court Denies Apple’s Appeal On E-Books, Triggering Millions In Payments.
Guardian.UK: How cars ruined our love of the countryside.
I think one has to differentiate between driving a car (attention to the road ahead) and being a passenger. There are some mixed metaphors here - complaining of not seeing the topography in an urban area isn’t the car’s fault, it’s buildings. Santa Fe’s buildings tend to be low, single story, earthtone without pitched roofs, hugging the landscape and revealing the elevations.
I’ve travelled long, long distances by plane, train, bus, car, bicycle and foot. Each has their place. I think the most transformative was a long bus trip ... the ‘locals’ you sit next to give you context while you watch the landscape roll by. And as you would imagine, I’m a human tape recorder for biographical and autobiographical stories. Buses are a great place to experience these. Or were. I haven’t been on one since our modern smartphone devolution of social interaction.
The Bookseller: ‘End of the beginning for e-books’ says Tamblyn.
BBC: Shakespeare’s grave scanned in 400th anniversary.
Italian Ways: Verona’s Porta Borsari and a Shakespearian tragedy.
“On Easter, along the main street near Porta Borsari, going towards Castelvecchio a large group of the Capuleti met some Montecchi and attacked them fiercely, with weapons. Tebaldo, Juliet’s cousin, was amongst the Capuleti. The stalwart young man incited his crew to beat the Montecchi boldly, without hesitation ...” Okay, rejigging that event [given the architecture] in my mind’s eye ...
Paris Review: The Art of Biography No. 5, Robert Caro.
“If I make this scene true enough so that the reader can see it, then the reader will see into Lyndon Johnson without my having to give any lectures or half-baked psychoanalysis.” Walking the mile in another’s mocassins.
Chronicle of Higher Ed: The Irrepressible Lightness of Umberto Eco.
“With typical Umberto mischievousness, he probably thought of cremation as his one chance to experience an auto da fé.” Thanks, longtime reader Ray.
lesgardenias: Mad Girl’s Love Song read by Sylvia Plath.
First time I’ve heard her voice. Another of those ‘internet amazements.’
Vice: Umberto Eco Taught the World How to Think About Conspiracies and Fascism.
“In losing Eco, we have lost not just Borges’s heir (with, as yet, no heir apparent to Eco) but a mind shaped by an older way of learning: of antiquated research and cataloguing methods. We take for granted these tools at our fingertips, but at least I am in awe of someone like Eco, who could dig deeply without them.” The internet’s still only inches deep. Books, people, books. And libraries.
Observer: What Does It Take To Be A “Bestselling Author”? $3 and 5 Minutes.
Umberto Eco: “How to Travel with a Salmon”
One of my many favorite bits of his writing.
The Bookseller: Tributes paid to ‘extraordinary’ Umberto Eco.
“A final novel will be released posthumously later this year.” Bittersweet news.