Donna Tartt e Michael Pietsch

Donna Tartt e Michael Pietsch
Slate propone un interessante dialogo tra la scrittrice Donna Tartt (di cui è recentemente uscito il romano The Goldfinch) e il suo editor a Little, Brown and Company, Michael Pietsch.
Pietsch: The editor works in disappearing ink. If a writer takes a suggestion, it becomes part of her creation. If not, it never happened. The editor’s work is and always should be invisible.
Most writers I know have more than one editor, beyond the one who works for the publishing company that has invested in their book—a small cadre whose advice on the manuscript they solicit and listen to. Do you have such a group?
Tartt: No not a group, though I have one or two people whose opinion I trust. slate.


The Chelsea Hotel, 2

Su Vanity Fair si trovano anche delle belle foto del Chelsea Hotel come è ora, prima della ristrutturazione, e di alcuni degli appartamenti ancora abitati. "You could go to one floor and talk about theater with Stefan Brecht,” remembers former resident Scott Griffin, “and go to another floor and talk to Arnold Weinstein about poetry and then have dinner downstairs with Arthur Miller. There aren’t many buildings in New York like that". vanityfair.


The Chelsea Hotel

Il Chelsea Hotel è in fase di ristrutturazione. Perderà la sua aura? Vanity Fair gli dedica un lungo articolo, corredato da molte testimonianze. E annuncia l'uscita di un libro che ne racconta la storia, Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel, di Sherill Tippins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
"Today the halls of the Chelsea Hotel are salted with dust. The hundreds of paintings that adorned its walls have been locked away in storage. The doors to abandoned apartments are whitewashed and padlocked. Hotel operations ceased in 2011 for the first time in 106 years, and now the few remaining residents roam the echoing corridors like ghosts. They have watched workers haul out antique moldings, stained glass, even entire walls. Ancient pipes ruptured during renovations, flooding apartments, and neighbors returned home from work to find their front doors sealed in plastic wrap. The Chelsea’s new owners say that the building had fallen into dangerous disrepair, and they are restoring it to its original condition. Some residents believe that they are being forced out, and that the Chelsea as they know it—and as it was known to residents from Sherwood Anderson and Thomas Wolfe to Sid Vicious and Jasper Johns—will soon vanish before the city’s merchant greed". vanityfair.


The Perils of Precocity

"The Perils of Precocity" è una storia molto carina di Thomas Beller, uscita sul blog del New Yorker. Ha a che fare una lettrice bambina e con la lettura in generale. Ecco l'inizio, "Something strange is going on with my six-year-old daughter’s reading habits. Until a few days ago, she had no reading habits. Now she suddenly has her face stuck in all sorts of books that are not age-appropriate. This is especially striking because Evangeline has always been drawn to the screen". newyorker
Ripropongo la foto dell'articolo perché mi sembra anch'essa molto carina.


The Luminaries

The Luminaries è il titolo di un romanzone (848 pag., editore McClelland & Stewart) della scrittrice neozelandese Eleanor Catton, che è tra le finaliste del Man Booker Prize. Amazon lo definisce un "neo-Victorian murder mystery". Jenny Hendrix dice, "The Luminaries is, among other things, an experiment in predetermination. By extinguishing every coincidence, it turns literature into the same kind of problem as astrology: Do we want structural interpretation to dictate narrative, or is it best when a story’s structure, as one character puts it, “always changes in the telling”? slate.


How to Be a Person

How to Be a Person: The Stranger’s Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself, Lindy West, Dan Savage, Christopher Frizzelle, Bethany Jean Clement, and the staff of the Stranger (Sasquatch Books). Il libro che dovrebbero leggere gli studenti di college, secondo Laura Helmuth, science and health editor di Slate. Perché:
"It’s full of funny, practical, opinionated, smart advice about everything college students are too embarrassed to ask about or don’t even know that they should ask about. How to get along with a roommate. How to get a date. How to break up. How to deal with a hangover. How to throw a party. How to come out of the closet. How to manage your finances. Plus lots of juicy sex advice from Dan Savage. Reading this book sure beats learning all about life through trial and error and lots of mortification like the rest of us did". slate.


Lore Segal

Una simpatica intervista alla scrittrice Lore Segal, di cui è appena uscito un nuovo romanzo, Half the Kingdom (Melville House). "Ms. Segal’s fifth book in a career that has spanned across five decades is called Half the Kingdom. It begins at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in New York where all the patients over the age of 62 have suddenly developed dementia; Joe Bernstine of the Concordance Institute has been tasked with figuring out why. The narrative jumps between dozens of characters that shuffle in and out, many of which appear in Ms. Segal’s earlier fiction. She has always toyed with the contradictions and overlaps of the banal and the fantastical, and here is its culmination: a fairy tale about the elderly. Ms. Segal’s writing deconstructs the very idea of aging and never shies from the embarrassment that comes with trying to fit in or bearing disappointment. Her career has been a half-century struggle with the conventions of language and the humor inherent in pain, a long meta-commentary on the role of the author herself". observer.


James Wood on Alice Munro

Molto bella l'analisi di James Wood della storia di Alice Munro "The Bear Came Over the Mountain".

"But two additional elements, both characteristic of Munro’s careful art, make it a great story. First, there is Munro’s astounding lack of sentimentality ... The second very Munro-ish element is the formal freedom of the story, which compacts a lot of life into a short space, and moves backwards and forwards over a great deal of terrain." newyorker.


Alice Munro

Parla l'editor di Alice Munro del New Yorker, Deborah Treisman, "Editing Alice Munro’s stories is sometimes a lesson in feeling extraneous. As I’m preparing to tell her that the final paragraph isn’t landing right, she is already faxing a new ending; as I mark up page 5, to show that something hasn’t been properly set up, she is calling to say that she has put a new page 5 in the mail. Sometimes I see a paragraph on page 10 that seems an unnecessary diversion and cross it out; when I get to page 32, I understand why it was absolutely crucial to the story and have to retrace my steps. As we go through the proofs by phone, Alice throws each discussed page on the floor. Going back to an earlier scene requires scavenging. ..." da leggere per intero. newyorker.


Perché così poche donne nelle facoltà scientifiche?

Chiara Daraio, prof. di areonautica  a Pasadena
Un articolo interessante sulla scarsità di donne nelle facoltà scientifiche - fisica e matematica soprattutto - nelle grandi università americane. Un articolo pieno di dati statistici e testimonianze, come sempre, ma che sembra non cogliere del tutto il punto.  
Mi sembra che in Europa - e anche in Italia, un paese apparentemente assai più sessista degli USA - le cose vadano un po' diversamente. Magari le donne non riescono a trovare lavoro (ma neppure gli uomini), ma le facoltà scientifiche ora sono piene di donne.
"Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts...." Eileen Pollack, nyt.


Scrivere di sesso

Il "Sunday Book Review" del New York Times della scorsa domenica è dedicato al sesso. Tra i vari articoli scelgo le riflessioni di Erica Jong, 40 anni dopo la pubblicazione del suo Fear of Flying
"Let’s go back to when I was writing “Fear of Flying.” What an amazing time the late ’60s and early ’70s was; you could follow a plume of smoke down the streets of Manhattan and get a contact high. Primitivism was the rage. So was magic. So was feminism. So were sex, open marriage, ethnic equality. We kvelled over books like “Man’s Rise to Civilization as Shown by the Indians of North America From Primeval Times to the Coming of the Industrial State” and “The Autobiography of Malcolm X”; “The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge,” by Carlos Castaneda; “Sisterhood Is Powerful,” edited by Robin Morgan; “Couples,” by John Updike; and “Portnoy’s Complaint,” by Philip Roth. Add to that the poems of Allen Ginsberg — who was already publishing in the ’50s but was suddenly famous in the ’60s because of his public protests against the Vietnam War. And thanks to the Grove Press publisher Barney Rosset and other brave souls, literary censorship had been defeated, and we could now read “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” or “Tropic of Cancer” without going to the locked rare book room at a university library". nytbr.


The Letters of J.F. Powers

J.F. Powers è un bravo scrittore americano di racconti da noi praticamente sconosciuto. Il suo interesse narrativo era soprattutto rivolto al mondo dei cattolici americani del dopoguerra, che descriveva con eleganza e una satira bonaria. E' stato collaboratore del New Yorker. Ora è uscita una raccolta di sue lettere, Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a cura di una dei suoi cinque figli, Katherine A. Powers. Adam Gopnik ne parla sul New Yorker, "... the book provides a wonderful picture of a now lost type: the radical-liberal Catholic of the forties and fifties, whose allegiance to the rules of the Church (all those children!) was part and parcel of his allegiance to what would now seem an extravagant, not to say extremist, egalitarian politics. Katherine Powers rightly calls this' the nearly forgotten American Catholic countercultural religious and social ferment of the mid-twentieth century'." newyorker.


Bookforum intervista Jules Feiffer

And yet he made an interesting film! And a lot of that film works. I was lucky to work with wonderful people. I also did a film with Alan Resnais.
Bookforum: That’s what I meant about the range!
Jules Feiffer: It seems like heady stuff, and of course it was heady. But primarily, it was work I was interested in and work I loved and work that was challenging, and problems that had to be solved, and how to make something better, and how you get it right, not in the first place or second, third, or fifteenth place.
What you learn when you work with first-rate people, whether it’s Mike Nichols or Arkin, is that they are, invariably, except for Altman, less temperamental and less difficult than second-rate people, who always make a problem. The first-rate people are never defensive. And they are quite willing and happy to blame themselves when things get fucked up. bookforum.