Almost done with A Dance with Dragons
Lost Coast Trail, California
The best way to get kids to read a book is to say: ‘This book is not appropriate for your age, and it has all sorts of horrible things in it like sex and death and some really big and complicated ideas, and you’re better off not touching it until you’re all grown up. I’m going to put it on this shelf and leave the room for a while. Don’t open it.
Afternoon break (by Lorenzo Basile Photography)
The Lesson - Adam Bălţatu
“Let us be kinder to one another.”
— Aldous Huxley reflected on his entire life’s learning on his death bed, and then summed it up in these seven words.
Ecstasy. From the Greek ekstasis. Meaning not what you think. Meaning not euphoria or sexual climax or even happiness. Meaning literally: a state of displacement, of being driven out of one’s senses.
Some of the books that I consider my favorite are ones that rock me to my core, that leave me feeling like someone squeezed my heart really tightly for those 300 to 400 pages. But the idea of going through that experience for a second time? No, thank you.
Not only do I not want to experience that kind of emotional roller coaster for a second time (let’s ignore the fact that I continue to go through it, just with different books), but what if it is worse a second time around? Now that I know what is coming, will the ride only be worse because I am just waiting for events to occur? Will I even have the strength to continue through the book a second time around? Part of me thinks it is like knowing that an oven is hot and choosing to touch it anyway.
On this day in 1951 J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye was published. Reviews were mixed, but having been pre-selected by the Book of the Month Club, the novel was immediately popular. Rare book dealers regard a good, signed copy of the first edition — this is the one with the dust-jacket picture of a quixotic, carousel horse — as “one of the most elusive of 20th century books.” The only rare book dealer recently offering one for sale (somewhat damaged, $35,000) says that the last signed edition for sale, about fifteen years ago, was inscribed by Salinger to Harold Ross of The New Yorker.
Read more here.
Literature is born when something in life goes slightly adrift.
Behind Every Great Novelist (Illustration for the NY Times Book Review)
Xavier de Maistre
Voyage autour de ma chambre ( 1794 )
What a sublime art painting is!” my soul was thinking. “Happy is the man moved by the spectacle of nature who is not obliged to make paintings for a living; who does not paint solely as a pastime, but rather, when struck by the majesty of a beautiful countenance or the wonderful play of the light as it blends into a thousand shades on the human face, strives in his works to approximate nature’s sublime effects! And happier still the painter who, summoned to his solitary promenades by his love for the landscape, can express on canvas the sadness inspired in him by a shaded thicket or an empty plain. His creations imitate and reproduce nature; he invents new seas and dark caverns the sun has never known: at his command, shady groves, always green, arise from nothing; heaven’s blue is mirrored in his paintings. With his art he can roil the winds and make the tempests roar. At other times he presents to the spectator’s astonished eye the splendid landscapes of ancient Sicily: one sees frightened nymphs fleeing through the reeds, pursued by a satyr; temples of majestic architecture rise proudly above the sacred forest surrounding them: the imagination loses its way along the silent paths of this ideal land; the bluish distance blends into the sky, and the whole landscape, mirrored in the waters of a tranquil river, creates a spectacle that no language can describe.