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WRB—May 14, 2022
We would all have a lot more fun if you remembered to place a classified ad.
🎵 Se telefonando io potessi dirti addio ti chiamerei 🎵
To do list:
[A reader, and proud owner of a tote bag himself, suggested that in order to make people aware of how singularly handsome these bags are, I ought to include an image in the body of the email.
This is basically what they look like. —Chris];
avail yourself of our world-famous classified ads [about which more at the bottom of this email], either by placing or responding to one; and, for technical reasons,
let us know what summer foods you’re most looking forward to here [I have been looking forward to this being seasonal for months. —Chris]: email@example.com.
[I am very sorry, but I did not have the time to give these most of these links their usual commentary. I’m declaring link bankruptcy. —Chris]
The Birth of the Egghead Paperback [This is a really interesting story if you want to know about how the books you interact with all the time came to be printed. —Chris]
Mieko Kawakami on All the Lovers In The Night: ‘I find the hells young people go through compelling’ [Co-sign. —Nic]
Ocean Vuong Brings Books to Lunch Dates, ‘Just in Case’ [I read while Iʼm walking places all the time. Sometimes perambulation feels like the only free time I get in a day. —Chris]
Join us at the inaugural Georgetown Rare Books Fair, which runs through this weekend at the City Tavern Club.
No more Jesuit Tricks (in Switzerland): the quarterly journal Choisir is shutting down at the end of the year, citing declining interest.
Or New York Times ones: Dan Stone notes on his Substack that multi-bylined articles have become quite the habit for the Times.
The reviews are in: One WRB reader describes the new Old Bay Goldfish as “definitely the sort of thing you’d only like if you like Old Bay.” [I recommend eating them with a spoon. —Nic]
What we’re reading:
Chris is looking for people interested in joining a Ulysses reading group, beginning in June, in person in Washington, D.C. Email the WRB if you are interested in participating.
He also made a playlist this week.
Nic is reading the same books that he mentioned on Wednesday. He discovered on Thursday that there is no playlist on Spotify containing all the music mentioned in The Recognitions. He is compiling one, for anyone interested.
June 7 | New Directions
by Jean Cocteau
From the publisher: In 1949, Jean Cocteau spent twenty days in New York, and began composing on the plane ride home this essay filled with the vivid impressions of his trip. With his unmistakable prose and graceful wit, he compares and contrasts French and American culture: the different values they place on art, literature, liberty, psychology, and dreams. Cocteau sees the incredibly buoyant hopes in America’s promise, while at the same time warning of the many ills that the nation will have to confront—its hypocrisy, sexism, racism, and hegemonic aspirations—in order to realize this potential. Never before translated into English, Letter to the Americans remains as timely and urgent as when it was first published in France over seventy years ago.
[Making a big deal about spending a few days in New York is one of the most American habits I can think of, and one very close to both Managing Editors’ hearts. —Chris]
“At North Farm” by John Ashbery
Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?
Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings?
[When I read this poem on Twitter this week I thought it was about love. A friend thought it was about God, and another didn’t know what to make of it at all. Helen Vendler says it is about death, and that seems true, too. —Chris]
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.
Young man who would like to play tennis. Clay courts preferred, but not required. Weekends best. Tennis experience: High school singles player, 2017 District champion, 2017 Northwest Florida regionals appearance (it wasn’t pretty), Hillsdale Club Tennis not-so-regular. Not USTA rated. Contact me at email@example.com or 202-802-0619.
Mid-20s Catholic woman in Pittsburgh area, spontaneous, outdoorsy, looking for someone skilled at wordplay to argue with, romantically. [Email WRB with subject “Flannels in the Burgh”]
In Tacoma, WA: Energetic, creative, and voracious reader (F24) seeks nice Catholic boy with a sense of humor and openness to adventure. Cat lover a plus. [Email WRB with subject “Pugetaboudit”]
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”]
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?”]
Executive Director of Great Hearts Institute for Classical Education seeking a marketing and publications coordinator to support a variety of projects and publications in service to the growing K–12 classical movement. Our goal is the continued development of classical education through scholarship, research, conferences, and publications—all highlighting curricular and pedagogical excellence. Position can be remote; salary is $45–55k; benefits are good; and the work is rewarding. Click here for the full job description.
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.
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Pray the Rosary daily!