WRB—June 11, 2022
Book giveaways are back!
The WRB summer intern is barely managing.
To do list:
Subscribe your boss to the WRB—he [Or she! —Chris] can only thank you for the favor.
Should we make WRB mugs??? Would anyone buy a WRB mug??? Please email us and say so if you would.
Check out the Famous WRB Classifieds, now stored on this page for non-paying readers to access. [And respond to! What are you afraid of?]
Pay up so you can read this whole delightful email. [Including the now-paywalled book giveaway. This could pay for itself for you.]
At Bright Wall/Dark Room Emma Fergusson has an essay about the 1945 film Brief Encounter and its use of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2: “The piano understands her dilemma—the bittersweet nature of her love for him. This is the melody that serves as the film’s emotional undercurrent: it is drama, it is pleasure, it is pain.”
Three from the Yale Review:
Sarah Chihaya on reading Anne Carson’s poetry after a breakup: “Whaching is not simply watching; while she whached things we can all observe, like ‘humans’ and ‘actual weather,’ she also whached those things that cannot be seen or known, like ‘God’ and ‘the poor core of the world.’”
Becca Rothfeld on high school debate: “When people tell me they don’t miss any part of high school—don’t miss the gorgeously guileless little idiots they were when they were sixteen and unashamed to love embarrassments like debate—I do not believe them.” [Hard pass. —Chris]
Lili Hamlyn on the outmoded practice of photographing the bodies of the dead: “To photograph the dead is to impose boundaries. The dead body becomes mutated, no longer solely a site of grief but an image: composed, structured, more easily understood.”
For The Baffler, Robert Rubsam writes in praise of Canadian author Gerald Murnane and his work’s preoccupation with reading and writing: “literature is transformed into something beyond story and character and far beyond meaning.” [I only just recently learned a little about Murnane, when a reader shared this story about a writer’s colony on Twitter, which I read and loved. Another good story about going a little nuts at a writer’s colony is “The Resident” in Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties. —Chris]
Also recently in The Baffler, a short story about watching Ancient Aliens, like the show on the History Channel, and, yes, going a little nuts. [This reminded me of this fab essay by Brian Phillips, my first introduction to his writing, collected in Impossible Owls. I want more Brian Phillips! —Chris]
Chris mentioned on Wednesday that he’d begun reading Flights and really enjoying it. This week, Words Without Borders relaunched their website with an essay by its author, Olga Tokarczuk, translated from Polish by Jennifer Croft: “Literature, including the most ancient, oral, creates ideas and marks out perspectives that sink deeply into our minds and format them, whether we like it or not.”
Where are the nostalgic novels of American summer?—asks Spectator World. Dandelion Wine, for one, certainly fits the bill! [What about Light in August? It’s in the title. —Chris] A reader recently published one, as well. What are America’s other great novels of summertime sadness?—As always, email us. [I think we have more than enough summer books. —Chris]
In yesterday’s Paris Review “The Review’s Review” [their version of What we’re reading], Charlie Lee has a little bit on his fascination with an early concert recording of Prince from 1982. [This reminded me a lot of John Jeremiah Sullivan’s description of the 1983 “Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever” recording in this classic banger of an essay (collected in Pulphead)—I want more JJS too! A reader recently sent me this cover of “I Want You Back,” and I’ve been listening to it a lot. —Chris]
July 7 | Cambridge University Press
From the publisher:
[I love the extremely low-effort book trailer. More of these! —Chris]
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