April really only ranks in the middle of the pack on the cruelty scale—consider February, or August.
To do list:
It’s a holiday weekend, so don’t spend it reading email newsletters!
If you must have a link, Aimee Nezhukumatathil has a lovely little tribute to mint for Orion. Conspicuously absent: how good it is with lamb.
April 18, 2022 SHOUTS & MURMURS Review:
“Things I Don't Have Room For As A Mother” by Jessi Klein
Not even really trying to be funny.
[I liked the Victoria Chang poem (pg. 32), the new Sheila Heti age gap romance story (pg. 49), the Louis Menand review linked on Wednesday (pg. 63), and Anthony Lane on Paris, 13th District and Ambulance. —Chris]
Cheapskate lovers of Sally Rooney will be happy to know that Beautiful World, Where Are You is available for preorder in paperback.
We recently recommended an amusing piece from Calvin Trillin. That recommendation stands, but readers should know that Trillin all but self-plagiarizes himself in it—stealing almost word for word from a piece collected in an anthology celebrating Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s seventy-fifth anniversary. [Never only sell a piece once. —Chris]
What we’re reading:
Chris read an old copy of The Paris Review (125) because he found it in a sidewalk sale on Wednesday and it has dinosaurs on the cover. He really liked this story from Barry Lopez, about North Dakota; John Barth’s humorous feature “Jack and Jill: An Exegetical Aria,” which is strangely enough not on the web; “Time Relost by Marcel Proust” by Paul West; and poems from Mark Strand, Borges, Edward Hirsch, Andrew Hudgins, and Caroline Knox.
He also found a paperback of stories by Stanisław Lem, who he’s wanted to read since that M.I.T. Press reissue that readers may remember from way back in “WRB Feb. 5, 2022.” He couldn’t get through the first tiny story—maybe some other time.
Chris also started reading this edition of the collected C.P. Cavafy. Maybe more on him soon. He reread this old Nicholson Baker essay for a non-WRB project he’s working on. Definitely more on that in the medium-term.
Nic was very careless on Wednesday and inserted an apostrophe in Finnegans Wake. [This is so embarrassing. —Chris] He regrets the error. Most of his reading since then has been devotional in nature, and he does not care to recount it.
from Questions for Ecclesiastes by Mark Jarman
There was a pious man upright as Job,
In fact, more pious, more upright, who prayed
The way most people thoughtlessly enjoy
Their stream of consciousness. He concentrated
On glorifying God, as some men let
Their minds create and fondle curving shadows.
And as he gained in bumper crops and cattle,
He greeted each success with grave amens.
So he was shocked, returning from the bank,
To see a flood bearing his farm away—
His cows, his kids, his wife, and all his stuff.
Swept off his feet, he cried out, “Why?” and sank.
And God grumped from his rain cloud, “I can’t say.
Just something about you pisses me off.”
The WRB Classifieds:
To place an ad, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Rates are 1¢ per word, per issue. Content is subject to the approval of the Managing Editors.
28, male, in D.C. looking for people to be socially anti-social with at either Suns Cinema or the Landmark theaters (usually Chinatown) where tickets are $7 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Not big on horror, but generally does not discriminate by genre. [Email WRB with subject: “The Search”]
In D.C./NOVA: Trained singer and pianist (23F) seeks other amateur musicians to play music together casually, and/or conquer DC’s karaoke scene. Some musical ability is a plus, but altogether unnecessary. [Email WRB with subject: “The Song on a Lark”]
In D.C.: PMC (23M) seeking other disillusioned and disaffected youths to read Infinite Jest with. [Email WRB with subject: “The Library, And Step On It!”]
Wanted: 30ish woman for The National-esque doctor in American midwest. Belief in predestination and disbelief in fibromyalgia preferred. [Email WRB with subject: “Coffee and Flowers”]
In D.C.: Young man has found people to play tennis with, but is leaving an open offer to play. [Email WRB with subject: “Tennis, Anyone?”]
Literate + fit Christian girl, professional engineer in middle America (northwest Arkansas), is open to the idea of meeting marriage-worthy young man. [Email WRB with subject: “Lost in the Beau-zarks”]
Nice Christian girl wanted for nice Christian boy. Him: 25 y/o 6’2” homeowner. Seattle area. Her: Tall a plus. Ex athlete a plus. Must love kids. [Email WRB with subject: “Sleepless in Seattle”]
Mid-20s parents looking for young, unmarried Catholic woman who’s interested in children and wants to be in the DC area long term.
Editorial director at Sentinel seeking editorial assistant to support her and one other editor. Position can be remote, salary is $45k, benefits are good. If you are slightly weird and very organized, write decent copy, and don't get your news from The Daily, please email email@example.com whatever pitch for yourself you think most effective.
DC-local male seeking recommendations for DC-local locales to purchase oddities in the service of bedroom decoration. Economical ideas preferred. [Email WRB with subject “Priceless Moments”]
Man, single, 26, seeking to enter the next phase of life and settle down. Low-maintenance preferred, but open to a fixer-upper. Will travel to meet with respondent. No Mazdas, please. [Email WRB with subject: “Passengers Not Included”]
Aging millennial looking for a piano teacher near Fairfax. [Email WRB with subject: “Tickling the Ivories”]
Freelance copyeditor with 10 years’ professional experience editing everything from poetry to scholarly works on long-dead Native American languages offering services to writers everywhere. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for rates and availability.
Want to start a podcast but have no idea where to start? Contact podcast expert and Washington Review of Books reader Shadrach Strehle! One client called his rates “cheap,” and his work “exceptional.” But don’t take his word for it, try Shad yourself! For info and a consultation contact Shadrach Strehle at email@example.com.
The Militant Grammarian is a non-profit volunteer journal devoted to bringing the best experimental fiction to the web. Our small staff is committed to an aesthetic of bold weirdness and boundary-pushing—the types of stories that other publications might consider too esoteric or theoretical or cerebral. Simply put, we publish stories we love—the stories that we believe deserve to be out in the world. Submit your writing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Struggle Magazine is a quarterly literary magazine established in Washington, D.C. in 2020. The idea for it started behind a coffee bar from our need to create a tangible expression of what it meant for us to have artistic freedom in this world. We depend on finding contributors and pieces that end up informing one another. We hope that each issue of Struggle comes out buzzing with interesting conversations among artists across genres and mediums that our readers can also participate in. Get the first issue now.
Looking for a podcast that's delightfully unchained from the drudgeries of reality? In every episode of The Readers Karamazov, your hosts the Bastard Sons of Hegel—Karl Bookmarx, Friedrich Peachy, and Søren Rear-Guard—explore the intersection of philosophical thought and literary form in great works of fiction. Each season builds outward from a central anchor book to consider how different works of literature speak to each other over time. Catch up with the entirety of Season 2, “Middlemarch,” now, before Season 3, “The Name of the Rose” begins in April. Listen wherever you get your podcasts, and follow on Twitter @thereadersk.
If you or someone you love is afflicted with a syndrome known as “living in DC” or “considering living in DC,” tell them to talk to their doctor about reading The Girl’s Guide to DC. With just one weekly newsletter, you can get your fill of dating and career advice, DC news, and pop culture by clicking this link.
Pray the Rosary daily!