New book! #literature #reading #books #zelda #fitzgerald #novels (at Hoth)
Posts tagged literature.
EUDORA WELTY: Yes. She was the one who opened the door. When I read To the Lighthouse, I felt, Heavens, what is this? I was so excited by the experience I couldn’t sleep or eat. I’ve read it many times since, though more often these days I go back to her diary. Any day you open it to will be…
This week, The New Yorker publishes “Thank You for the Light,” a 1936 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald that was originally rejected by the magazine decades ago. Here, a look back at the magazine’s 1926 profile of Fitzgerald: http://nyr.kr/Q0QK9H
“If patterns of ones and zeros were ‘like’ patterns of human lives and deaths, if everything about an individual could be represented in a computer record by a long string of ones and zeros, then what kind of creature would be represented by a long string of lives and deaths? It would have to be up one level at least—an angel, a minor god, something in a UFO. It would take eight human lives and deaths just to form one character in this being’s name—its complete dossier might take up a considerable piece of the history of the world. We are digits in God’s computer… And the only thing we’re good for, to be dead or to be living, is the only thing He sees. What we cry, what we contend for, in our world of toil and blood, it all lies beneath the notice of the hacker we call God.”
Vineland. Thomas Pynchon.
“You rarely have such fevers later in life that fill your entire day with emotion.” Ray Bradbury. The New Yorker. 2012.
“Living did not mean one joy piled upon another. It was merely the hope for less pain, hope played like a playing card upon another hope, a wish for kindnesses and mercies to emerge like kings and queens in an unexpected twist in the game. One could hold the cards oneself or not: they would land the same way, regardless.”
Lorrie Moore. Referential. The New Yorker
When I too long have looked upon your face,
Wherein for me a brightness unobscured
Save by the mists of brightness has its place,
And terrible beauty not to be endured,
I turn away reluctant from your light,
And stand irresolute, a mind undone,
A silly, dazzled thing deprived of a sight
From having looked too long upon the sun.
Then is my daily life a narrow room
In which a little while, uncertainly,
Surrounded by impenetrable gloom,
Among familiar things grown strange to me
Making my way, I pause, and feel, and hark,
Till I become accustomed to the dark.
I remember the first time I realized I could make myself see something that wasn’t there. I was ten years old, walking home from school. Some boys from my class ran by shouting and laughing. I wanted to be like them. And yet. I didn’t know how. I’d always felt different from the others, and the difference hurt. And then I turned the corner and saw it. A huge elephant, standing alone in the square. I knew I was imagining it. And yet. I wanted to believe.
So I tried.
And I found I could.
The History of Love. Nicole Krauss.
Photo by Colleen Plumb
- Valentine: Well, it is odd. Heat goes to cold. It's a one-way street. Your tea will end up at room temperature. What's happening to your tea is happening to everything everywhere. The sun and the stars. It'll take a while but we're all going to end up at room temperature. When your hermit set up shop nobody understood this. But let's say you're right, in 18-whatever nobody knew more about heat than this scribbling nutter living in a hovel in Derbyshire.
- Hannah: He was at Cambridge--a scientist.
- Valentine: Say he was. I'm not arguing. And the girl was his pupil, she had a genius for her tutor.
- Hannah: Or the other way round.
- Valentine: Anything you like. But not this! Whatever he thought he was doing to save the world with good English algebra it wasn't this!
- Hannah: Why? Because they didn't have calculators?
- Valentine: No. Yes. Because there's an order things can't happen in. You can't open a door till there's a house.
- Hannah: I thought that's what genius was.
- Valentine: Only for lunatics and poets.
- 'I had a dream which was not all a dream.
- The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
- Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
- Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
- Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air. . .'
Let me explain: the pleasure I experienced came directly from being too vividly aware of my own degradation, from the feeling of having gone too far; that it was foul but that it couldn’t be otherwise; that there’s no way out for you, that you’d never make yourself a different person; that even if there remained enough time and faith to change yourself into something different you most probably wouldn’t want to change yourself. And that even if you did want to, you’d end up by doing nothing because there might in fact be nothing to change yourself into. But finally, and most importantly, all this proceeds from the normal, fundamental laws of heightened consciousness and from the inertia which is the direct result of those laws and therefore not only could you not change yourself, you’d simply do nothing at all.
Notes From Underground. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1864.
“He knew now what this thing was—hysteria, a snake whose scales are tiny mirrors in which the dead world takes on a semblance of life. And how dead the world is … a world of doorknobs.”
Miss Lonelyhearts. Nathanael West.
“I wanted to try this new drink: That’s all we do, isn’t it—look at things and try new drinks?”
—Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Short Stories
‘the children greeted each other with jar masks painted on their faces pain.’ -Tree of Codes. Jonathan Safran Foer. Die-cut pages. This is one of the more beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
I’ve been reading this fantastic little novel about a duck, name Fup. The story is very Southern Gothic with a Northern California redneck whiskey drinking bent. It’s beautiful and horrifying. Each small chapter is filled with gems line these:
“In Tiny’s wretched memory, grief-shocked and baffled by time, the bird he came to remember was a swan, immense, stately, white as marshmallow cream, neck elegantly curved, eyes of bottomless grenadine. If he’d known it was a duck, he might have been more careful when he found Fup.”