Best of the Moment
Jesse Baron | Paris Review | 3rd July 2013
Norwegian novelist and memoirist, compared by reviewers to Proust, discusses his life and work, particularly Min Kamp — "My Struggle", his autobiography in progress. "I wanted to see how far it was possible to take realism before it would be impossible to read. So in Min Kamp I’m doing nothing but digressions, no story lines. Language itself takes care of it. The form gives something back"
Andrew Cohen | The Atlantic | 4th July 2013
Anthology of columns by the late great sportswriter showcases his particular genius for the racetrack. On Sunshine Park, Florida: "It has a totalizer, a daily double, touts, a 37-percent average of winning favorites, forms, scratch sheets and handicappers' cards for sale at the gate, seasoned, alert racing officials and—oh yes—horses of a sort. Which makes it as close an approximation of paradise as an honest man has a right to expect"
Justin Peters | Columbia Journalism Review | 1st July 2013
Rather wonderful profile of The Baffler, "the journal that blunts the cutting edge". Sample quotes from editor John Summers: “We want the most destructive possible criticism with the highest possible literary standards.” “The consensus has all been wrong. The country is dying at the top." Regular contributors include Chris Lehmann, David Graeber, Susan Faludi, Rick Perlstein. So yes, you probably should be reading it more often
Wendell Steavenson | New Yorker | 3rd July 2013
Fine reporting. Lucid account of turbulent events: "It felt upside down. A popular protest to oust President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who was democratically elected, in which, since Monday, the military has taken the side of the protesters. From one perspective, what is happening in Egypt represents an extraordinary repudiation of political Islam. From another, it is an outright military coup"
Elon Green | The Awl | 3rd July 2013
Elegant and always interesting account of Robert Gottlieb's underrated six-year editorship of the New Yorker. When Si Newhouse appointed him to succeed William Shawn in 1987, the editorial staff wrote Gottlieb a letter asking him not come. He came anyhow, but the letter cast a long shadow. Gottlieb never quite felt at home. His "interim government", wise but hesitant, ended when Newhouse brought in Tina Brown
Paul Martin | Style & Substance | 1st July 2013
Wall Street Journal's retiring style editor signs off on his monthly bulletin after 27 years. Parting advice includes: "Breathalyzer" takes a capital B. "Scrapyard" is one word. Last but not least: "Publishing operations of the former News Corp., including Dow Jones & Co. and The Wall Street Journal, now are under the umbrella of News Corp – still two words but with no period after Corp, except at the end of a sentence, of course"
Thought for the day:
"It could be that the total scenario for human beings is an insoluble mystery until we die, followed by nothing at all" — Bryan Magee