WRB–Mar. 9, 2022
Kansas, Sci-fi, Type, Contests, Kafka, and more
The Managing Editors will never publish a list of things in which they have no interest. But one does exist.
To do list:
Follow us on Twitter [Or Instagram now. Or Facebook.]
[I mean have you really told your entire family yet? Your second cousins? —Chris],
visit a meat [meet?] mart, and, for technical reasons,
really, please just say “Hi” here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gene Seymour takes advantage of a review of a new collection of Zora Neale Hurston’s essays to appreciate the “inimitable composite of grande dame, lyric poet, contrarian pundit, and sociocultural detective.” Also in Bookforum: a roundup of the season’s outstanding art books.
For The Guardian, Elena Ferrante in (epistolary) conversation with Elizabeth Strout. A lot of Ferrante seems to be about how being from Naples is very bad. Also in The Guardian, Sarah Smarsh argues that being from Kansas, on the other hand, could be ok.
On Gawker, Tom Whyman has an appreciation for the books too long to ever truly finish.
At Words Without Borders, Rachel Cordasco argues that we need more scifi in translation. [Only if it’s Englished better than The Three-Body Problem series was, please. —Chris]
Except by young children, shorts are not worn at the bowling alley.
from Emily Post’s Etiquette.
[Hard to argue with. —Chris]
Submissions for Plough Quarterly’s annual poetry contest are due at the end of this month. Submissions for The New Criterion’s are due in the middle of next.
The big book news you’ve already heard: two new from Cormac McCarthy this fall and a Bob Dylan book in November.
The Managing Editors were surprised to learn that these two “Leftist Bros” like Green Day enough to name their podcast after one of the band’s worst singles.
Monotype released its 2022 Type Trends Report last week.
Alex Leslie has a brief, informative post exploring the money behind book production, if you’ve ever wondered.
What we’re reading:
Chris wants to apologize for something he said on Saturday, and clarify that there absolutely are parts of Lost in the Funhouse that are metafictionally tiresome in the extreme, along with pieces of real brilliance. Fair warning. That Barth book brought him to DFW’s Girl With Curious Hair, which is, so far, wonderful. [Speaking of wonderful short stories, the first person to email WRB with the subject line “Movable Chair” wins a copy of Andre Dubus’ last collection of stories, Dancing After Hours.]
Chris has also been laughing quite a lot, out loud and in public, on the sidewalk, wherever, reading Barbara Pym’s No Fond Return of Love. There are worse things to do on a walk.
Nic has been reading too much Kafka to be useful for anything else, honestly.
March 22 | Penguin Random House
Rethinking Sex: A Provocation
by Christine Emba
From the publisher: Reaching back to the wisdom of thinkers like Thomas Aquinas and Andrea Dworkin, and drawing from sociological studies, interviews with college students, and poignant examples from her own life, Emba calls for a more humane philosophy, one that starts with consent but accounts for the very real emotional, mental, social, and political implications of sex—even, she argues, if it means saying no to certain sexual practices or challenging societal expectations altogether.
More than a bold reassessment of modern norms, Rethinking Sex invites us to imagine what it means to will the good of others, and in turn, attain greater affirmation, fulfillment, and satisfaction for ourselves.
“Man Sleeping” by Jane Kenyon
Large flakes of snow fall slowly, far
apart, like whales who cannot find mates
in the vast blue latitudes.
Why do I think of the man asleep
on the grassy bank outside the Sackler
Museum in Washington?
It was a chill
afternoon. He Lay, no doubt, on everything
he owned, belly down, his head twisted
awkwardly to the right, mouth open
like a child who has fallen asleep
still dressed on the top of the covers,
or like Abel, broken, at his brother’s feet.
[Museums Will be Able to Remove Sackler Name Without Penalty (Hyperallergic)]
The WRB Classifieds:
To place an ad, email email@example.com. Rates are 1¢ per word, per issue. Content is subject to the approval of the Managing Editors.
In NOVA: Young man, Christian, in finance, needs fiancée. 6ʼ3”. Byronic. Dog dad seeking dog mom. [Email WRB with subject line “Doggone It!”]
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”]
Obscene poet seeks female audience to horrify. E.g.:
Roses are red,
The gods up in heaven
Have blinded me since
I called Helen a seven.
[Email WRB with subject: “Irascere Iterum Meis Iambis”]
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”]
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman (26, Catholic), in possession of no fortune at all, must be in want of housemates (3, Alexandria). [Email WRB with subject: “Chill Penury”]
Friendly, cuddly, and talkative cat (7m) seeking a cat sitter located in the Washington DC area. Likes: long walks on a leash, catching mice, and playing fetch. Dislikes: the vet. Necessary dates for care: March 18–April 4. Would prefer to stay with my cat sitter for companionship, but any care arrangement will do. [Email WRB with subject: “Feline Good”]
Columbia Heights Rowhouse (f125) seeks resident for one of six bedrooms (ideally m27+) to replace housemate pulled into Brookland’s gravitational field. Available immediately. Must love antics. [Email WRB with subject: “Egg and Dart Era”]
Aging millennial looking for a piano teacher near Fairfax. [Email WRB with subject: “Tickling the Ivories”]
Young Cleveland woman seeks employment as a babysitter. Christian with years of childcare experience. Available evenings and weekends. Ideal client would have scores of unruly children and not stay out too far past midnight. [Email WRB with subject: “Cuyahoga Dreaming”]
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comedian Joe Pappalardo demands you watch him perform. Reach out to him on social media @pappalardofunny for more info:
March 10, 8 pm, The Ugly Mug (Eastern Market, D.C.)
March 11, 9 pm, Galactic Panther, (Alexandria, V.A.)
March 19, St Joseph Arts Festival, (Chinatown, D.C.) [speaking of which:]
Join several of WRB’s loyal readers at the St Joseph’s Day Catholic Art and Music Festival on March 19.
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!