Friday, October 7, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Why is it I can track of all of my books but the few times I borrow a book from someone, I either manage to set it on fire (accidentally, of course,) or lose it? I have torn my apartment apart looking for a book I borrowed from a friend and for the life of me, I can't find it.
I need help.
This isn't strictly "literary," but I think it's interesting that she approaches taxidermy as another way to tell stories. I was also far less grossed out by it than I would have expected.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
- For your literary Occupy Wall Street news, take a look at the Occupy Wall Street Library.
- Feeling lucky? Take a look at Gawker's "Betting Guide to the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature."
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
A friend pointed me towards the intellectual slap fest taking place between Joseph Epstein of The Wall Street Journal and Benjamin Reiss, one of the authors of Cambridge History of the American Novel and writer at Slate. Epstein charges that the book embodies all that is wrong with studying literature today--it's no longer about the novel, it's about the novel's place in history and the different schools of criticism. He writes, "All that the book's editors left out is why it is important or even pleasurable to read novels and how it is that some novels turn out to be vastly better than others. But, then, this is a work of literary history, not of literary criticism." (Ooooh burn!)
On the one hand, I agree with much of what Epstein is saying. It's no longer enough to read and enjoy The Great Gatsby. Now one must read it, dissect it, understand where it fits into Fitzgerald's biography, and understand where it fits into the American historical tapestry in a variety of contexts (socio-economic, race, gender, etc.). The problem, though, is Epstein comes off as slightly stuffy (no big surprise from a writer at The Wall Street Journal, though, let's be honest). For example (emphasis mine):
"'The Cambridge History of the American Novel' could only have come into the world after the death of the once-crucial distinction between high and low culture, a distinction that, until 40 or so years ago, dominated the criticism of literature and all the other arts. Under the rule of this distinction, critics felt it their job to close the gates on inferior artistic products. The distinction started to break down once the works of contemporary authors began to be taught in universities."
Oh, hell no! Not contemporary authors! Who wants to read that shit? If it's not Milton, I don't want to read it! Epstein terms this "intelllectual nursing homes," where ideas that are rejected by other displines go to die.
I remember watching this in high school, and although it's pretty interesting, it's definitely not 100% accurate. Still, not a bad way to get some history of the English language in.
Monday, October 3, 2011
Cons: Uncomfortable chairs (sometimes), noisy patrons (often), preponderance of hipsters (always).
Pros: You can get your vitamin D when you've been trapped inside since May because you live in Houston and the weather's been like God's punishing the whole city for something someone somewhere did. (If I find that someone, by the way, I'm kicking his ass.)
Cons: You're an easy target for the homeless and crazies, both of whom seem naturally drawn to public places like the park.
Pros: Warm (or boil-a-lobster if you're me) water, and the addition of a glass of wine makes it cliche-perfect.
Cons: Tendency towards getting pruny if you read more than one chapter. Oh, and whatever you do, don't drop your book.
Pros: Easy to put book down and go straight to sleep
Cons: Really only applicable right before bed or a nap.... unless you often get into bed in the middle of the day and you want to precede it with a little light reading. (Speaking of which, did I ever tell you about the time that I went to buy a mattress and the mattress guy was trying to sell me on the Tempurpedic and told me that the memory foam mattresses aren't good for "recreational activity." When I asked him to clarify with an icy "Excuse me?" he blushed and stammered that he was referring to reading and watching TV. Uh huh.)