I want to give a virtual shout-out to Cait and her literary blog “My Hero Bookworm.” She just linked to my review of Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (I think she actually just got the image of the cover from me, but hey, the link is there), which immediately makes her awesome, but, not only that, her blog in general is a great. It’s kind of like mine, but actually more fun and more often updated.
My Stephen King email newsletter (yes) included the wonderful announcement that the Doctor Sleep cover has been released, and I love it. The dark red-toned background with the face seems very horror genre to me, but the title/author is very Everything Is Illuminated-esque (but the smoke gives it a fresh take on this style!), which keeps it from looking tacky.
This book cover made me gasp in delight.
found on buzzfeed
I interview weird fiction writer Steve Rasnic Tem over at Publisher’s Weekly. Unfortunately, you have to be a PW subscriber to read the interview, but I wanted to share in case some of you out there are subscribers. Either way, I highly recommend his latest collection of short stories titled Onion Songs from Chômu Press – I encourage you all to run out and purchase it as soon as it is released (sometime later this month).
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (Harvest/HBJ 1978, trans. William Weaver) is probably the most gorgeous books I have ever read. (I’m only 22, though, of course.) Like Nikky Finney’s Head Off & Split, I will be recommending it for years to come (which perhaps says something about my supposed suspicion of poetry). It’s a collection of prose poems, each describing a different city, told from the perspective of a fictional Marco Polo to Tartar emperor Kublai Khan. Calvino moves back and forth between these descriptions and a narrative of Polo and Khan, as they sit in a garden (I believe at night), timelessly. Polo and Khan become increasingly philosophical as they reflect upon the end of empire, the spatial quality of the world, the futility (and non-necessity) of language, and the fleeting nature of their own existences.
I tell people that I study literature for many reasons, but perhaps the primary reason I can’t draw myself away from it is because, to me, literature is the most beautiful form of art. I think there’s something that speaks to me about trying, over and over, to express in words emotion, which is inherently impossible to describe. Naturally, not all literature can rightfully claim the title of “art,” and, of course, the idea of “art” in general is a whole other discussion. But, to me, Invisible Cities is one of the few books that exemplifies the way literature is art. It makes you breathless as you read it; it sucks you in and swallows you up.
If you don’t need a book to have an obvious story—if you read for the beauty of words placed together, side by side, on a page—and you can only read one more book ever, this may have to be it.
POLO: Perhaps this garden exists only in the shadow of our lowered eyelids, and we have never stopped: you, from raising dust on the fields of battle; and I, from bargaining for sacks of pepper in distant bazaars. But each time we half-close our eyes, in the midst of the din and the throng, we are allowed to withdraw here, dressed in silk kimonos, to ponder what we are seeing and living, to draw conclusions, to contemplate from the distance.
KUBLAI: Perhaps this dialogue of ours is taking place between two beggars nicknamed Kublai Khan and Marco Polo; as they sift through a rubbish heap, piling up rusted flotsam, scraps of cloth, wastepaper, while drunk on the few sips of bad wine, they see all the treasure of the East shine around them.
POLO: Perhaps all that is left of the world is a wasteland covered with rubbish heaps, and the hanging garden of the Great Khan’s palace. It is our eyelids that separate them, but we cannot know which is inside and which outside.
I just really had to share this quote:
But claiming that online retail negates the brick-and-mortar bookstore is like saying we don’t have to worry about socializing in person now that we have Facebook and Twitter.
props to Mark Athitakis and this article he wrote.