Chances are you’ve bragged about the size of your library. The number of books you own is a point of pride for many readers. But at what point does collecting books — which few people would say is a bad thing— turn into a problem? At what point, in other words, does it become hoarding? Pair with: Rebecca Rego-Barry on hunting for rare books at college library book sales.
"It helped that I could measure my progress with metrics like number of scabs collected, number of inches ollied. There was an objective truth to the sport; unlike my writing, my powerslides were self-validating. At home, a printout of my manuscript lay untouched on my desk."
One lie I tell is that we care, generally—human beings—about each other. We could not, I tell myself in the moments just before the night’s dark hour, create The Odyssey or King Lear or Thomas and Beulah without a profound sense of The Other. Surely, were it true this thing’s a joke, nothing more, and a cruel one at that, we’d have no Dickinson, no Yeats, no freakin’ Rumi, read by Bly, loud on an old tape deck while I shower.
In the mid-90s, David Foster Wallace published a scathing review of a John Updike novel, Toward the End of Time, that became a key text for critics of the celebrated author. Now, at The New Republic, David Baddiel argues that Updike gets a bad rap, while Jeffrey Meyers backs up DFW’s position. It might also be a good time to read James Santel’s review of Updike’s Collected Stories.
Despite the “grotesquerie of courtship rituals” they present, Roxane Gay enjoys watching The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, in part because, as she explains, they hearken back to America’s Puritan origins. In The New York Times, the essayist, novelist and Year in Reading alum reflects on a guilty pleasure.
For a while, shortly after I finished an undergraduate creative writing course, everything I wrote started with an observation or a realization…I was going to be an essayist, and it was going to be awesome.