Stazione centrale di Milano, Binario 21

E' il binario da dove partivano i treni per Auschwitz. In questo luogo stanno costruendo un Memoriale della Shoah che dovrebbe essere pronto per il giorno della Memoria, il prossimo 27 gennaio. Ma per ora ne parlano di più in America che in Italia. "For nine years, a foundation and a pair of Milanese architects have been working to transform the grim, cavernous depot - all but abandoned after the war - into the Memorial of the Shoah.
When finished, the project will take up 75,000 square feet and will include a Jewish-themed library rising three stories within the vast space, as well as an auditorium, a room for silent contemplation and a cluster of open-sided cubes for showing video testimonials by European Holocaust survivors.
The names of deportees from the station, about 2,000, will be inscribed on a wall behind a preserved track from the depot, and four windowless wooden train cars will sit atop a second track. An elevator platform that was used to lift such cars up to the main station will be visible at one end of the track, as will the opening in the ceiling far above it, an ominous rectangle of light the exact dimensions of a train car. It was through this opening that the cars would emerge into the busy station before setting off unnoticed for Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen or Italian camps like Fossoli, near Modena.
The memorial, which is about a third built, has been plagued by delays. But Roberto Jarach, vice president of the Foundation for the Memorial and the head of Milan’s Jewish Community, a membership organization, said plans called for part of the site to open to the public in time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27". nyt.


Blue Nights

Joan Didion fotografata da Annie Leibovitz
E' il titolo del nuovo libro di Joan Didion (Knopf), che parla della morte della figlia Quintana Roo Dunne Michael. Lo recensisce, con commozione e intensità, Christopher Hitchens su Vanity Fair, "In this supremely tender work of memory, Didion is paradoxically insistent that as long as one person is condemned to remember, there can still be pain and loss and anguish". vf.


The Marriage Plot

E' il titolo del nuovo romanzo di Jeffrey Eugenides, in uscita presso Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Il romanzo è ambientato negli anni Ottanta tra neo-laureati idealisti appena usciti da Brown (il mio libro!). "In the book, Eugenides delves into the psychology of three college seniors (who, like the author, went to Brown) as they graduate in 1982 into a recession and a love triangle. There's Mitchell, who loves Christian mysticism and his classmate Madeleine Hanna; Madeleine, who loves romantic idealism and her classmate Leonard Bankhead; and Leonard, a polymathic biology student and manic-depressive, who loves lithium". Cliccando qui si legge un'intervista all'autore.


La prima copertina del Grande Gatsby

La prima copertina del Grande Gatsby è molto bella, rara e preziosa. Il prossimo 20 ottobre uno dei pochi esamplari verrà messo all'asta a New York da Sotheby's, che prevede di venderla a un prezzo tra i 150.000 e i 180.000 dollari. E' stata disegnata da Francis Cugat, fratello maggiore di Xavier, il "Rhumba King". Eccola nella foto a sinistra. booktryst.


Flann O'Brien

October 5th will mark the hundredth anniversary of the birth of one of the great comic geniuses, and one of the most inspired literary minds, of the twentieth century. He was born Brian O'Nolan in 1911, but is now most widely remembered as Flann O'Brien, the pseudonym under which he published At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman, two uniquely strange and formally inventive novels. Edna O'Brien (no relation, obviously) once wrote that "along with Joyce and Beckett, Flann O'Brien constitutes our trinity of great Irish writers". newyorker.

Ma in Italia non è tradotto!!!


Scrittori, al lavoro!

Le tre domande più chieste agli scrittori sono:
How do you write? Meaning whether the author writes in long hand, typewriter or computer.

When do you write? Meaning time of day, morning, afternoons, or evenings.

Where do your ideas come from?

(Raccomando a chi intervista scrittori di evitarle in modo da evitare a chi legge un sacco di noia. Praticamente tutti - scrittori e non - scrivono al computer, quasi tutti scrivono di mattina e nessuno sa bene come gli vengono le idee.) huffingtonpost.


Can’t You Take a Joke? :-)

1982: At precisely 11:44 a.m., Scott Fahlman posts the following electronic message to a computer-science department bulletin board at Carnegie Mellon University:

19-Sep-82 11:44 Scott E Fahlman :-)
From: Scott E Fahlman
I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:
Read it sideways. Actually, it is probably more economical to mark things that are NOT jokes, given current trends. For this, use:
With that post, Fahlman became the acknowledged originator of the ASCII-based emoticon. From those two simple emoticons (a portmanteau combining the words emotion and icon) have sprung dozens of others that are the joy, or bane, of e-mail, text-message and instant-message correspondence the world over. wired.


Il signore delle mosche

Sul Guardian Breve e interessante storia delle copertine di Lord of the Flies, uscito originalmente nel 1954 (a fianco l'ultima edizione, in paperback, di Faber). A proposito, il 19 settembre è stato il centenario della nascita di William Golding.
Publishing company Faber initially marketed Golding's novel as a guileless supplement to this tradition [si allude alla tradizione dei libri per ragazzi]. On the cover for the first edition the boys explore a tropical forest of fronds and creepers that is not at all threatening; they remain in formation as they march along, and although one of them wolfs down a banana, he is still wearing his school cap, which makes up for his rude gluttony. An "educational edition" in 1973 – a precursor of the new one, for which young readers are invited to design a cover of their own – used a still from Brook's film. Though the boys are hunting, they look as unlethal as the Darling children in Peter Pan.
Gradually, successive editions came clean about the book's diabolism. guardian.


In fila per l'apocalisse

Are you in line for the Apocalypse?
Is this the Apocalypse?
Excuse me, what are you waiting for?
The apocalypse.

Al Brooklyn Book Festival - lo scorso weekend - l'incontro più gettonato è stato "Apocalypse Now, and Then What?", tavola rotonda con Tananarive Due, Patrick Somerville e Colson Whitehead, newyorker.


Lo studio di Roald Dahl

è un piccolo cottage dall'apparenza molto idillica. E sta crollando per cui gli eredi chiedono soldi perché venga rimesso in sesto. Ma vale la pena?
Nella sua recente biografia di Dahl, Storyteller, Donald Sturrock parla di quando andò a trovare lo scrittore nel suo studio:

He opened the door to the hut and I went inside. An anteroom, stuffed with old picture frames and filing cabinets, led directly to his writing space. The walls were lined with aged polystyrene foam blocks for insulation. Everything was yellow with nicotine and reeked of tobacco. A carpet of dust, pencil shavings and cigarette ash covered the worn linoleum floor. A plastic curtain hung limply over a tiny window. There was almost no natural light.


John Banville

John Banville risponde a Robert Birnbaum.
RB: Who, ostensibly, is your editor? Sonny Mehta?
JB: Yeah. He would make some suggestions, which I would take or leave. I've been working two to five years on this thing. There is nothing that anybody can tell me about it that I don't already know.
RB: You're honest with yourself?
JB: Of course. You couldn’t write if you weren't honest. That's what makes art so valuable. No matter how dreadful the person, the art is always honest. Art can't be made dishonestly. It just can't. I mean, you can do it but it will be bad art. themorningnews.


L'etimologia di "nerd"

"It does come from the phrase ne’er-do-well - that's where the word is derived from - it was just shortening of that, which then became ne’erd and then nerd, meaning someone on the fringe of society". Lo spiega l'attore inglese Simon Pegg (che ha un po' l'aspetto del nerd, v. foto), ma, pare, senza avere prove. bostonglobe.                                 
James W. Pennebaker, The Secret Life of Pronoums. What Our Words Say About Us (Bloomsbury). Siamo quel che diciamo. Lo psicolinguista Pennebaker esplora "the many ways in which function words reveal our interior lives". nyt.


I Love Pigs

I've always loved pigs: the shape of them, the look of them, and the fact that they are so intelligent. I think I like them more than I like little human boys. The prospect of drawing pigs was something I could look forward to, and I needed something to look forward to. E' Maurice Sendak che parla del suo nuovo libro per bambini, Bumble-Ardy (HarperCollins). theparisreview.


A Love Letter

Livy Darling, I am grateful — gratefuler than ever before — that you were born, & that your love is mine & our two lives woven & welded together! SLC. SLC sta per Samuel Langhorne Clemens che era Mark Twain che scrive questa bella lettera d'amore nel 1888 alla moglie, Olivia Langdon Clemens, sposata nel 1870.



Ricomincio gli aggiornamenti con un racconto molto bello letto sul New Yorker del 15 & 22 agosto: Gilgul di Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi. Yerushalmi è morto nel 2009 a 77 anni. Era professore di Jewish History alla Columbia. Questo racconto sembra sia stato l'unico che ha scritto ed è stata la moglie Ophra, pianista, a darlo al New Yorker.
Gilgul parla di un professore americano in crisi, Ravitch, che si reca da una psichica a Tel Aviv, senza sapere bene perché. Questa donna gli racconta la storia di un uomo che non riusciva a trovare pace, finché non ha scoperto di essere la reincarnazione - gilgul - di un medico ebreo spagnolo del 1500 che non trovava pace. Questa storia affascina Ravitch che non capisce, però, che relazione abbia con lui e non gli dà consolazione. La psichica gli risponde, "The story was meant for you, but it is not about you."
Purtroppo il racconto non è disponibile ai non sottoscrittori del New Yorker, che però possono leggere l'interessante intervista con la moglie cliccando qui.