Marginalia

nprfreshair:

Q: I wouldn’t want to be friends with Nora, would you? Her outlook is almost unbearably grim.

A: For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that? Would you want to be friends with Humbert Humbert? Would you want to be friends with Mickey Sabbath? Saleem Sinai? Hamlet? Krapp? Oedipus? Oscar Wao? Antigone? Raskolnikov? Any of the characters in The Corrections? Any of the characters in Infinite Jest? Any of the characters in anything Pynchon has ever written? Or Martin Amis? Or Orhan Pamuk? Or Alice Munro, for that matter? If you’re reading to find friends, you’re in deep trouble. We read to find life, in all its possibilities. The relevant question isn’t “is this a potential friend for me?” but “is this character alive?”

 

(Claire Messud gave Publishers Weekly the answer it deserved last week. She’s on the show tomorrow. Tune in to see what answers she gives Terry!)

May 10
May 2

wnycradiolab:

Color signatures of novels’ visual content by Jaz ParkinsonMore.  Looks like it may be possible to order prints, and even make requests! 

(I just finished reading The Road and I can’t believe there is even THAT much color.)

(via ilovecharts)

Current’s word cloud of Obama’s second inaugural address.


One Today by Richard Blanco
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,peeking over the Smokies, greeting the facesof the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truthacross the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a storytold by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbowsbegging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother didfor twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through,the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explainthe empty desks of twenty children marked absenttoday, and forever. Many prayers, but one lightbreathing color into stained glass windows,life into the faces of bronze statues, warmthonto the steps of our museums and park benches 2as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalkof corn, every head of wheat sown by sweatand hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmillsin deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, handsdigging trenches, routing pipes and cables, handsas worn as my father’s cutting sugarcaneso my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plainsmingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear itthrough the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,buses launching down avenues, the symphonyof footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we openfor each other all day, saying: hello| shalom,buon giorno |howdy |namaste |or buenos díasin the language my mother taught me—in every languagespoken into one wind carrying our liveswithout prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimedtheir majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado workedtheir way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more reportfor the boss on time, stitching another wound 3or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,or the last floor on the Freedom Towerjutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyestired from work: some days guessing at the weatherof our lives, some days giving thanks for a lovethat loves you back, sometimes praising a motherwho knew how to give, or forgiving a fatherwho couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weightof snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,always under one sky, our sky. And always one moonlike a silent drum tapping on every rooftopand every window, of one country—all of us—facing the starshope—a new constellationwaiting for us to map it,waiting for us to name it—together.
Jan 21

Current’s word cloud of Obama’s second inaugural address.

One Today by Richard Blanco

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.


My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors,
each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:
pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows
begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—
bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—
to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did
for twenty years, so I could write this poem.


All of us as vital as the one light we move through,
the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:
equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,
the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming,
or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain
the empty desks of twenty children marked absent
today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light
breathing color into stained glass windows,
life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth
onto the steps of our museums and park benches 2
as mothers watch children slide into the day.


One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk
of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat
and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills
in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands
digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands
as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane
so my brother and I could have books and shoes.


The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains
mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it
through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs,
buses launching down avenues, the symphony
of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,
the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.


Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,
or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open
for each other all day, saying: hello| shalom,
buon giorno |howdy |namaste |or buenos días
in the language my mother taught me—in every language
spoken into one wind carrying our lives
without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.


One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed
their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked
their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:
weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report
for the boss on time, stitching another wound 3
or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,
or the last floor on the Freedom Tower
jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.


One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes
tired from work: some days guessing at the weather
of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love
that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother
who knew how to give, or forgiving a father
who couldn’t give what you wanted.


We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight
of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home,
always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon
like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop
and every window, of one country—all of us—
facing the stars
hope—a new constellation
waiting for us to map it,
waiting for us to name it—together.

Jan 21

powells:

Richard Blanco recites his inaugural poem.

proustitute:

Diane Arbus, Xmas Tree in a Living Room, Levittown, L.I., 1963
Dec 25

proustitute:

Diane Arbus, Xmas Tree in a Living Room, Levittown, L.I., 1963

Happy Birthday, (yesterday) Jane! Five feminist footnotes from Ms. mag.
Dec 17

Happy Birthday, (yesterday) Jane! Five feminist footnotes from Ms. mag.

slaughterhouse90210:

“These are my friends. These are the funny, ironic things we do so we can be the kind of funny, ironic people who do them.”—Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn
Dec 14

slaughterhouse90210:

“These are my friends. These are the funny, ironic things we do so we can be the kind of funny, ironic people who do them.”
—Claire Vaye Watkins, Battleborn

Dec 6

vanityfair:

The Exclusive Freaks and Geeks Reunion. See more photos at VF.com.

Photographs by Mark Seliger

Dec 5

classicpenguin:

Meet Penguin Drop Caps, a new series of twenty-six collectible hardcover editions, featuring a specially commissioned illustrated letter of the alphabet by type designer Jessica Hische and a series design collaboration between Hische and Penguin Art Director Paul Buckley.

Writes Elda Rotor, Associate Publisher and Editorial Director of Penguin Classics:

Penguin Drop Caps is a series inspired by typography—its beauty and its power of expression. A drop cap, or an initial cap, is the first letter of a word when designed and set larger than the surrounding text. It is used to introduce a new idea, paragraph, or chapter. We may recognize such elements from books of our childhood, from sacred and historic texts, and from beautiful early editions of classic literature. Whether they appear in illuminated fifteenth-century manuscripts set by scribes or digitally displayed on Jessica Hische’s own Daily Drop Cap blog, a drop cap letter impresses upon the reader the arrival of something of which to take note, something unique and special that deserves to be savored.

For the book lover, the series is a nod to the tradition of printing and the distribution of ideas, stories, and opinions—ranging from paper to digital media. For the writer and artist, the series pays homage to the significance of composition, texture, and form. With Penguin Drop Caps, we are inspired by the timeless tradition and craft of letters and their endless capacity to communicate.

As you can see above, the series debuts this fall with:

A for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
B for Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
C for Willa Cather’s My Ántonia
D for Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations
E for George Eliot’s Middlemarch
F for Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary (translation by Lydia Davis)
…with more to come!

theatlantic:

How Can You Not Like This Photo of Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep?
[Image: AP, Kevin Wolf]
Dec 3

theatlantic:

How Can You Not Like This Photo of Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep?

[Image: AP, Kevin Wolf]