Tag: Literature

100 Notable Books of 2022 – NYTIMES List

100 Notable Books of 2022
Chosen by the staff of
The New York Times Book Review
Nov. 22, 2022

Afterlives
Abdulrazak Gurnah

Also a Poet
Ada Calhoun

American Midnight
Adam Hochschild

The Arc of a Covenant
Walter Russell Mead

Avalon
Nell Zink

The Bangalore Detectives Club
Harini Nagendra

Best Barbarian
Roger Reeves

Black Folk Could Fly
Randall Kenan

Bliss Montage
Ling Ma

The Books of Jacob
Olga Tokarczuk

Breathless
David Quammen

The Candy House
Jennifer Egan

Case Study
Graeme Macrae Burnet

A Catalog of Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On
Dung Kai-cheung

Checkout 19
Claire-Louise Bennett

Come Back in September
Darryl Pinckney

Companion Piece
Ali Smith

Constructing a Nervous System
Margo Jefferson

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The Dead Romantics
Ashley Poston

Dead-End Memories
Banana Yoshimoto

Democracy’s Data
Dan Bouk

Demon Copperhead
Barbara Kingsolver

Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta
James Hannaham

Dr. No
Percival Everett

Ducks
Kate Beaton

Easy Beauty
Chloé Cooper Jones

Either/Or
Elif Batuman

Everything I Need I Get From You
Kaitlyn Tiffany

Fire Season
Gary Indiana

Flung Out of Space
Grace Ellis and Hannah Templer

Four Treasures of the Sky
Jenny Tinghui Zhang

The Furrows
Namwali Serpell

G-Man
Beverly Gage

Getting Lost
Annie Ernaux

Gods of Want
K-Ming Chang

The Grimkes
Kerri K. Greenidge

Half American
Matthew F. Delmont

Hokuloa Road
Elizabeth Hand

Homesickness
Colin Barrett

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water
Angie Cruz

The Hurting Kind
Ada Limón

If I Survive You
Jonathan Escoffery

An Immense World
Ed Yong

The Immortal King Rao
Vauhini Vara

In Love
Amy Bloom

Indelible City
Louisa Lim

Index, A History of the
Dennis Duncan

Indigenous Continent
Pekka Hämäläinen

Joan Is Okay
Weike Wang

Kiki Man Ray
Mark Braude

Kingdom of Characters
Jing Tsu

The Latecomer
Jean Hanff Korelitz

Legacy of Violence
Caroline Elkins

Lessons in Chemistry
Bonnie Garmus

Liberation Day
George Saunders

Life Between the Tides
Adam Nicolson

Lucy by the Sea
Elizabeth Strout

Magnificent Rebels
Andrea Wulf

Metaphysical Animals
Clare Mac Cumhaill and Rachael Wiseman

Motherthing
Ainslie Hogarth

Mr. B
Jennifer Homans

My Government Means to Kill Me
Rasheed Newson

Night of the Living Rez
Morgan Talty

Now Do You Know Where You Are
Dana Levin

The Old Woman With the Knife
Gu Byeong-mo

Olga Dies Dreaming
Xochitl Gonzalez

Our Missing Hearts
Celeste Ng

The Palace Papers
Tina Brown

The Passenger
Cormac McCarthy

Path Lit by Lightning
David Maraniss

Picasso’s War
Hugh Eakin

Pure Colour
Sheila Heti

The Quiet Before
Gal Beckerman

The Rabbit Hutch
Tess Gunty

Red Blossom in Snow
Jeannie Lin

The Return of Faraz Ali
Aamina Ahmad

The Revolutionary
Stacy Schiff

The School for Good Mothers
Jessamine Chan

Sea of Tranquility
Emily St. John Mandel

Secret City
James Kirchick

Seek and Hide
Amy Gajda

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida
Shehan Karunatilaka

Shy
Mary Rodgers and Jesse Green

Solito
Javier Zamora

Son of Elsewhere
Elamin Abdelmahmoud

The Song of the Cell
Siddhartha Mukherjee

Stay True
Hua Hsu

Strangers to Ourselves
Rachel Aviv

Super-Infinite
Katherine Rundell

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow
Gabrielle Zevin

The Trayvon Generation
Elizabeth Alexander

Trust
Hernan Diaz

Under the Skin
Linda Villarosa

Walking the Bowl
Chris Lockhart and Daniel Mulilo Chama

We Don’t Know Ourselves
Fintan O’Toole

The Whalebone Theatre
Joanna Quinn

When McKinsey Comes to Town
Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe

Yonder
Jabari Asim

You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty
Akwaeke Emezi

Hamlet – Old Language vs Modern

OLD LANGUAGE ====================================
HAMLET
Let me see. (takes the skull) Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath borne me on his back a thousand times, and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.—Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now to mock your own grinning? Quite chapfallen? Now get you to my lady’s chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come. Make her laugh at that.—Prithee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

HORATIO What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET Dost thou think Alexander looked o’ this fashion i’ th’ earth?

HORATIO E’en so.

HAMLET And smelt so? Pah! (puts down the skull)

HORATIO E’en so, my lord.

HAMLET To what base uses we may return, Horatio. Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?

HORATIO ’Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

MODERN LANGUAGE ====================================
HAMLET
Let me see. (he takes the skull) Oh, poor Yorick! I used to know him, Horatio—a very funny guy, and with an excellent imagination. He carried me on his back a thousand times, and now—how terrible—this is him. It makes my stomach turn. I don’t know how many times I kissed the lips that used to be right here. Where are your jokes now? Your pranks? Your songs? Your flashes of wit that used to set the whole table laughing? You don’t make anybody smile now. Are you sad about that? You need to go to my lady’s room and tell her that no matter how much makeup she slathers on, she’ll end up just like you some day. That’ll make her laugh. Horatio, tell me something.

HORATIO What’s that, my lord?

HAMLET Do you think Alexander the Great looked like this when he was buried?

HORATIO Exactly like that.

HAMLET And smelled like that, too? Whew! (he puts down the skull)

HORATIO Just as bad, my lord.

HAMLET How low we can fall, Horatio. Isn’t it possible to imagine that the noble ashes of Alexander the Great could end up plugging a hole in a barrel?

HORATIO If you thought that you’d be thinking too much.

Hamlet
SparkNotes
“No Fear Shakespeare pairs Shakespeare’s language with translations into modern English—the kind of English people actually speak today. When Shakespeare’s words make your head spin, our translations will help you sort out what’s happening, who’s saying what, and why.”

The Summer of a Dormouse – Byron quote

When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation) – sleep, eating and swilling – buttoning and unbuttoning – how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse…

Quote found in Kenneth Tynan’s Diaries, 16 November, 1972

Byron has given me the perfect title for an autobiography if I ever write one: The Summer of a Dormouse. It’s from a letter:
When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation) – sleep, eating and swilling – buttoning and unbuttoning – how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse…

The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan

(Highly recommended book)

Accessible Literature, Two Quotes on

The playwright certainly requires from his audience close attention and all the empathy they can muster, but otherwise no special attributes of education or intelligence are expected. To respond to Long Day’s Journey into Night all anyone needs is the experience of being a member of a family, and it is this democracy of spirit, this accessibility, which marks it out as not only a great play but a great American one.

Stage Blood: Five tempestuous years in the early life of the National Theatre
Michael Blakemore
(He’s talking about Eugene O’Neill and Long Day’s Journey into Night.)

Many writers pay a debt to their parents or to the world they left behind. But by making the past a theme, Ms. Ernaux takes homage further than that.

Consider, for instance, the apparent simplicity of her language. It emerged from an aesthetic decision to have her work remain “a cut below literature.” Ms. Ernaux has written that her aversion to playing with metaphors comes from an allegiance to her parents. She doesn’t want to write in a way that is different from how the people she grew up with speak.

What Nobel Prize-Winner Annie Ernaux Understands About the Past
Sheila Heti

Doctorow – Experience and Creativity

I subscribe to what Henry James tries to indicate when he gives that wonderful example of a young woman who has led a sheltered life walking along beside an army barracks and hearing a snatch of soldier’s conversation coming through the window. On the basis of that, said James, if she’s a novelist she’s capable of going home and writing a perfectly accurate novel about army life. I’ve always subscribed to that idea. We’re supposed to be able to get into other skins. We’re supposed to be able to render experiences not our own and warrant times and places we haven’t seen. That’s one justification for art, isn’t it—to distribute the suffering? Writing teachers invariably tell students, Write about what you know. That’s, of course, what you have to do, but on the other hand, how do you know what you know until you’ve written it? Writing is knowing. What did Kafka know? The insurance business? So that kind of advice is foolish, because it presumes that you have to go out to a war to be able to do war. Well, some do and some don’t. I’ve had very little experience in my life. In fact, I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad.

E.L. Doctorow

The Writer’s Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the 20th Century’s Preeminent Writers
A collection of facts, opinions, wit & advice from the preeminent writers of the 20th century including an introduction by George Plimpton.

Couple Amazon Reviews

Not my opinions…

The Clown – Heinrich Boll

This used to be my favorite book in college. Now that I’m 60 I revisited it and it seems I must have been damn depressed in college.

Sylvia – Leonard Michaels

Read this if you’re into two thoroughly unlikable people ruining each others’ lives and having sex. I bought it because I read that it was the inspiration for The Antlers’ phenomenal Hospice album, but I find it hard to believe something so beautiful and moving could have come from this. Worth reading for the part where Sylvia throws spaghetti at Leonard and he cries about it, however.

Apology for Idlers – Robert Louis Stevenson

He who has much looked on at the childish satisfaction of other people in their hobbies, will regard his own with only a very ironical indulgence. He will not be heard among the dogmatists. He will have a great and cool allowance for all sorts of people and opinions. If he finds no out-of-the-way truths, he will identify himself with no very burning falsehood. His way takes him along a by-road, not much frequented, but very even and pleasant, which is called Commonplace Lane, and leads to the Belvedere of Commonsense. Thence he shall command an agreeable, if no very noble prospect; and while others behold the East and West, the Devil and the Sunrise, he will be contentedly aware of a sort of morning hour upon all sublunary things, with an army of shadows running speedily and in many different directions into the great daylight of Eternity. The shadows and the generations, the shrill doctors and the plangent wars, go by into ultimate silence and emptiness; but underneath all this, a man may see, out of the Belvedere windows, much green and peaceful landscape; many firelit parlours; good people laughing, drinking, and making love as they did before the Flood or the French Revolution; and the old shepherd telling his tale under the hawthorn.

Quote from the essay, Apology for Idlers, which you can find here:
The Lantern-Bearers and Other Essays
Robert Louis Stevenson

Standing With Salman Rushdie

The gathering, “Stand with Salman: Defend the Freedom to Write,” was organized by the library in collaboration with free speech nonprofit PEN America and Rushdie’s publisher, Penguin Random House. Notable writers—including Paul Auster, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Andrea Elliot, Jeffrey Eugenides and Gay Talese—gave remarks before a crowd of hundreds at the hour-long event.

As Salman Rushdie Recovers, Renowned Writers Read Aloud From His Work
Paul Auster, Jeffrey Eugenides and others championed free speech at the New York Public Library
Smithsonian Magazine

Vronsky Sees Anna for the First Time – Anna Karenina Quote

Vronsky followed the conductor to the carriage and at the door to the compartment stopped to allow a lady to leave. With the habitual flair of a worldly man, Vronsky determined from one glance at this lady’s appearance that she belonged to high society. He excused himself and was about to enter the carriage, but felt a need to glance at her once more – not because she was very beautiful, not because of the elegance and modest grace that could be seen in her whole figure, but because there was something especially gentle and tender in the expression of her sweet-looking face as she stepped past him. As he looked back, she also turned her head. Her shining grey eyes, which seemed dark because of their thick lashes, rested amiably and attentively on his face, as if she recognized him, and at once wandered over the approaching crowd as though looking for someone. In that brief glance Vronsky had time to notice the restrained animation that played over her face and fluttered between her shining eyes and the barely noticeable smile that curved her red lips. It was as if a surplus of something so overflowed her being that it expressed itself beyond her will, now in the brightness of her glance, now in her smile. She deliberately extinguished the light in her eyes, but it shone against her will in a barely noticeable smile.

Anna Karenina
Tolstoy