WRB—May 21, 2022
Postcards, Prayer, Those Bucket Hats, and Three on Orwell
Morning’s come, you watch the red sun rise
The WRB flickers in your eyes
To do list:
Follow us on Twitter [Or Instagram. Or Facebook.];
order a tote bag; and
avail yourself of our world-famous classified ads [about which more at the bottom of this email], either by placing or responding to one. [Readers keeps asking us if the Classified Ads are fabricated. The Classified Ads are not fabricated. —Chris]
At The Paris Review, Cynthia Zarin has a brief entry on the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi. And Rebecca Bengal writes about the collage postcards artist Ellsworth Kelly sent and a new exhibit of them in New York.
At The Millions, Bryan VanDyke reflects on his relationship with comic books as a child and as a father. And Charlotte Donlon strings together five reflections on five books about reading, writing, and praying. Along the same lines for Plough, Kathleen Mulhern asks if reading fiction is a waste of time or a spiritual discipline.
Three on George Orwell:
Jonathan Clarke on “Orwell’s Humor” at City Journal,
M. D. Aeschliman on “What Orwell Learned From Chesterton” at First Things, and
D.J. Taylor on “George Orwell’s idea of civilisation” at Engelsberg Ideas. [I have no idea why all three of these appeared so close together; there’s no obvious news hook that I see. —Chris]
At the Sydney Review of Books, Beth Driscoll examines “bookishness” (“the experience and expression of pleasure or [displeasure] in a book, and the use of that experience to fashion a personal style, a way of being in a world.”), “The Aesthetic Conduct of Sally Rooney’s Readers,” and that business with the Beautiful World bucket hats. And Isabelle Li reviews Yiyun Li’s Tolstoy Together, a reading companion to War and Peace.
The Christendom College Graduate School Library is holding a liquidation sale of over 5000 volumes next weekend, Saturday May 28, 10 am–4 pm, at 4407 Sano Street in Alexandria. Paperbacks $1, hardcovers $2.
Jimmy Carter’s grandson is exploring the White House’s extensive record collection for some reason.
The case for drier audiobook recordings. [Here, here! —Chris]
“What Makes Long Island's Bagels So Great?” [It’s because you can get them in the morning early on the way to get a parking spot at the beach, and with a Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, if it happens to be 2007. —Chris]
What we’re reading:
This weekend Chris has an open calendar and looks forward to reading An Academic Question, restarting Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism, and finishing The Name of the Rose.
Nic is traveling.
June 30 | Pushkin Press
Of Sunshine and Bedbugs: Essential Stories
by Isaac Babel
From the publisher: Isaac Babel honed one of the most distinctive styles in all Russian literature. Brashly conversational one moment, dreamily lyrical the next, his stories exult in the richness of everyday speech and sensual pleasure only to be shaken by brutal jolts of violence.
These stories take us from the underworld of Babel’s native Odessa, city of gangsters and lowlives, of drunken brawls and bleeding sunsets, to the terror and absurdity of life as a soldier in the Polish-Soviet War. Selected and translated by the prize-winning Boris Dralyuk, this collection captures the irreverence, passion and coarse beauty of Babel’s singular voice.
“Fishmonger” by Marsden Hartley
I have taken scales from off
The cheeks of the moon.
I have made fins from bluejays’ wings,
I have made eyes from damsons in the shadow.
I have taken flushes from the peachlips in the sun.
From all these I have made a fish of heaven for you,
Set it swimming on a young October sky.
I sit on the bank of the stream and watch
The grasses in amazement
As they turn to ashy gold.
Are the fishes from the rainbow
Still beautiful to you,
For whom they are made,
For whom I have set them,
[The WRB is committed to publishing all the finest in fish poetry. —Chris]
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 email@example.com for rates and availability.
Need a host, MC, or just jokes? Contact DC comedian Joe Pappalardo. For tickets to shows and comedy clips, click HERE. Follow him everywhere @pappalardofunny.
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.
Twenty-[redacted] DC-area Catholic seeking participants for an eight-week, completely free weekly course through her church, St. Ann in Tenleytown. Tuesdays at 7:30 PM from June 14–August 2, the course will convene for dinner and discussion of questions of life, faith, and meaning. You need not be Catholic or even Christian to participate; this girl has red hair, so the church door erupts in flames whensoe’er she so much as grazes it with her hand, and they still let her in. The course deepened her faith and was the source of many new friendships. It is a worthy use of a summer evening. Contact Clare Hogan at email@example.com for details.
This Easter, introduce your toddlers to TEN EASTER EGGS, your burgeoning readers and cat lovers to MAX AND MIDNIGHT, and your teenagers to BOUND, all by Vijaya Bodach.
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.
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!