Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday è il titolo di un libro del 1972 di Mary Rodgers Guettel, scrittrice e compositrice inglese morta il mese scorso a 83 anni. In italiano si intitola A ciascuno il suo corpo, ma non si trova più. Sembra carino. "Mary Rodgers Guettel, who died at the end of June, was not a household name like her father, the composer Richard Rodgers, but she had legions of fans—among them her lifelong friend Stephen Sondheim; Leonard Bernstein; the legendary children’s-book editor Ursula Nordstrom; Juilliard students, who chanted her name affectionately when she addressed them, as the chair of the school’s board in recent years; and a great many children. Rodgers published “Freaky Friday,” her freewheeling mother-daughter body-switch novel, in 1972, and followed it with two enjoyable sequels, “A Billion for Boris” and “Summer Switch.” Sarah Larson, newyorker.


Libri che fanno piangere

Un interessante articolo su quali sono i libri che fanno piangere, e come e perché. Pelagia Horgan, "Tears have had a surprisingly prominent place in the history of the novel. Readers have always asked about the role that emotion plays in reading: What does it mean to be deeply moved by a book? Which books are worthy objects of our feelings? In different eras, people answered those questions in different ways". newyorker.


Privacy secondo Virginia Woolf

Joshua Rothman discute della privacy e soprattutto di quel che significava per Virginia Woolf, "Woolf often conceives of life this way: as a gift that you’ve been given, which you must hold onto and treasure but never open. Opening it would dispel the atmosphere, ruin the radiance—and the radiance of life is what makes it worth living. It’s hard to say just what holding onto life without looking at it might mean; that’s one of the puzzles of her books. But it has something to do with preserving life’s mystery; with leaving certain things undescribed, unspecified, and unknown; with savoring certain emotions, such as curiosity, surprise, desire, and anticipation. It depends on an intensified sense of life’s preciousness and fragility, and on a Heisenberg-like notion that, when it comes to our most abstract and spiritual intuitions, looking too closely changes what we feel. It has to do, in other words, with a kind of inner privacy, by means of which you shield yourself not just from others’ prying eyes, but from your own. Call it an artist’s sense of privacy". newyorker.


The Children of Silicon Valley

Robert Pogue Harrison, prof. di letteratura a Stanfod, sulla Silicon Valley, "In truth Silicon Valley does not change the world as much as it changes my way of being in it, or better, of not being in it. It changes the way I think, the way I emote, and the way I interact with others. It corrodes the worldly core of my humanity, leaving me increasingly worldless. (I do not consider the Internet’s Borg collective, with its endless drone of voices, a world, any more than I consider social media a human society; those who do not see the difference have already been assimilated.). nybooks.


The Last Literary Taboos

Questo è il tema discusso da due scrittori questa settimana sul New York Times. Gli scrittori sono Francine Prose e James Parker. Francine Prose, "One hears about manuscripts turned down for being too this, too that, too dark, too cerebral, too unsympathetic, too strange; about editors rejecting books that kept them awake all night reading — but in the cold light of morning, they couldn’t convince their colleagues that an audience for such a book existed". nyt.


Life at 60

My generation, the postwar baby-boomers, are over the meridian of our vital parabolas. We’ve done our best and our worst, overachieved and underperformed, are either preparing to bask on the sun loungers of our success or suck our bruised fingers in the waiting rooms of failure. So 60 is both a personal summit from which to look back, breathing heavily, hands on my knees, and a generational one. ... 
How do I feel having reached 60? Well, surprised, mostly. And grateful. When I was 30, a doctor told me that I had a dangerously damaged liver and, all things considered, I probably wouldn’t see another Christmas. I am an alcoholic and a drug addict but, with a lot of help, I stopped. I haven’t had a drink or picked up a drug since. AA Gill (nella foto con il padre) e i suoi primi sessant'anni. thesundaytimes.


The Apthorp

The Apthorp è un palazzo nel West Side di Manhattan. Per un periodo ci ha vissuto Nora Ephron, che l'ha meravigliosamente (come suo solito) descritto in un racconto sul New Yorker, "Moving On". Nora Ephron è morta due anni fa e il New Yorker la ricorda, riproponendo questo racconto. new yorker.


Libri in uscita a luglio

“Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer” (Liveright), by Matthew Gavin Frank, out July 7th. This strange, innovative book-length essay is, like the squid that serves as its emblematic center, slippery and many-armed. 

Questo e altri i libri in uscita a luglio, newyorker.


Apple Cake

"Apple Cake" è il titolo del racconto di Allegra Goodman uscito sull'ultimo numero del New Yorker. Si svolge intorno al letto di Jeanne morente e ha una delle più belle scene di morte che abbia letto, "She wanted to open her eyes, to rise up from her bed. She wanted music and she wanted apples. She wanted to touch the sandy beach, to feel summer's heat. She wanted all this, but she couldn't have it. She died because she couldn't breathe". 

In un'intervista Goodman fa anche una considerazione molto interessante tra letteratura e cibo, "My mother Madeleine’s rugelach were unbelievable. I could not use them here because they would have upstaged everything and everyone else. Apple cake is food for a short story. Rugelach require a novel". I rugelach sono dei dolci ebraici, delle specie di croissant (v. foto). newyorker.


Trigger Warning

Un altro attacco della political correctness ... alla letteratura, naturalmente. "Colleges across the country this spring have been wrestling with student requests for what are known as “trigger warnings,” explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans. ... At Oberlin College [nella foto] in Ohio, a draft guide was circulated that would have asked professors to put trigger warnings in their syllabuses. The guide said they should flag anything that might “disrupt a student’s learning” and “cause trauma,” including anything that would suggest the inferiority of anyone who is transgender (a form of discrimination known as cissexism) or who uses a wheelchair (or ableism). nyt.


Leavitt on Leavitt

Leavitt parla di sé e dei libri che legge:
What books are currently on your night stand?
Dorothy L. Sayers’s “Gaudy Night,” Georges Simenon’s “The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien” and Gretchen Rubin’s “Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill.”
Who is your favorite novelist of all time? And your favorite novelist writing today?
Penelope Fitzgerald. “The Beginning of Spring,” “The Gate of Angels” and “The Blue Flower” are novels I return to again and again, with joy and awe.
Among writers working today, I have the greatest admiration for Norman Rush. I also admire John Weir, who deserves to be far better known than he is. And I was floored by Edward St. Aubyn’s Patrick Melrose novels. nyt.