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Found 16 results

  1. I know the book has been around for 6 years or so, but I recently read Kitchen Confidential while I was on my trip to Hawaii and it was a great read. Out of curiosity, does anyone know who he is referring to as Bigfoot? Also, has anyone here actually tasted Anthony Bourdain's food? Does he suck per his own self assessment or is he just being self depricating?
  2. Just because it's important - imperative - that people know who Voltaire is. Read Candide if you get a chance. Gabriel Garcia Márquez wrote, "La Increíble y Triste Historia de la Cándida Eréndira y de su Abuela Desalmada," yes, based on Candide, and yes, important - read it if you can.
  3. "Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison, One of America's Greatest Writers, Has Died at 88" by Monée Fields-White on theroot.com Toni Morrison graduated from Howard University in 1953.
  4. gets off to a remarkable start, wholly apart from her Chez Panisse review: Five reviews covering seven restaurants, and three other ("meta")essays, as well! Unfortunately, the Chronicle won't let you access more than a handful, so I haven't been able to read most of them, but those I have read make me very eager to follow her and check out some of the restaurants she loves.
  5. "Three hundred years ago people in England were putting witches to death ... But surely the reason we do not execute witches is that we do not believe there are such things. If we did—if we really thought that there were people going about who had sold themselves to the devil and received supernatural powers from him in return and were using these powers to kill their neighbours or drive them mad or bring bad weather—surely we would all agree that if anyone deserved the death penalty, then these filthy quislings did? There is no difference of moral principle here: the difference is simply about matter of fact. It may be a great advance in knowledge not to believe in witches: there is no moral advance in not executing them when you do not think they are there. You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house." -- C.S. Lewis, from "Mere Christianity"
  6. Five years ago when the literature section was unveiled I asked about posting about Pat Conroy, my favorite American novelist. I never got around to it. I don’t think my words can do his words justice. Kathleen Parker, the editorialist, fellow denizen of the low country of South Carolina, and good friend of Conroy just wrote a wonderful piece about her late friend. She gives examples of his prose. His descriptive powers were magical. After first reading his literature so many decades ago and having the time I visited the South Carolina Coast just to breath be same air and walk the same paths. I was not the only person to do so specifically inspired by Conroy.
  7. It's funny how one thing leads to another. Because of Jim's post, I'm watching "Rain Man" for the second time in my life. (By the way, this film is a whole lot deeper than I thought it was.) All because I was thinking about Daniel Tammet, and there's one thing I don't understand: In his Wikipedia entry, it says that Tammet: --- In his mind, Tammet says, each positive integer up to 10,000 has its own unique shape, colour, texture and feel. He has described his visual image of 289 as particularly ugly, 333 as particularly attractive, and pi, though not an integer, as beautiful. The number 6 apparently has no distinct image yet what he describes as an almost small nothingness, opposite to the number 9 which he calls large, towering, and quite intimidating. He also describes the number 117 as "a handsome number. It's tall, it's a lanky number, a little bit wobbly".[9][32] In his memoir, he describes experiencing a synaesthetic and emotional response for numbers and words.[9] --- What I don't understand ... is it the actual, mathematical quantity that Tagget finds ugly/beautiful, or is it the look of the Arabic Numerals that he finds visually repulsive/attracitve? My guess is that it's the Arabic Numeral representations - I can see the numbers "117" and "333" as being "beautiful," and the number "289" as being "ugly," but only in their Arabic notation; not as a string of bits. I distinctly remember Tagget telling David Letterman that he looked like a "117" - Letterman is tall and lean, and this would be intuitive. I'm pretty sure 117 is a prime number, and mathematically speaking, I can't imagine what's so beautiful about that as opposed to, say, 113 (which I'm guessing is also prime) - it must be the Arabic representations, right? Does what I'm saying make sense? More than anything else, Tammet comes across to me as a genuinely nice person - I've seen him on numerous occasions, and have paid close attention to what he does, says, and how he acts - he is just an all-around good human being, and that's what impresses me about him the most.
  8. Today is Virginia Woolf's 136th birthday. She has been a great inspiration to my style of writing (when I begin a sentence, I almost never know how I'm going to end it), and I owe her a debt I could never repay. Google has a doodle to commemorate this great writer's 136th birthday here. Please feel free to chime in with your own Virginia Woolf stories and inspirations.
  9. Recently, I introduced a friend to David Foster Wallace, and he asked me what about his writing strikes me to the point where I say, without hesitation, that he was a genius. And quite frankly, I didn't know how to answer - unless you read his work, he's almost impossible to describe. One of the things I said was that reading his work is like reading a perfectly written Lisp program, his language being almost function-like and polyphonic - you're not really "finished" with one of his books until you read the final word, and only then does the entire thing mesh together. I was listening to this 1996 interview with Christopher Lydon on "The Connection": I was struck by what Wallace said about entertainment and the internet starting at around the 30:00 point - let me qualify this by saying he's *very* hard to quote, because he changes gears and shifts back-and-forth when he speaks, so this won't be perfect: "The book [infinite Jest] is strategically set in the future. It's not really supposed to be a reflection of the way things are now, but a kind of extrapolation on trends ... I remember seeing Terry Gilliam's "Brazil," where everybody sort of has TVs ... on rods coming out of their foreheads and everybody's watching TV all the time. It's not quite that ... when you think about it, first, HDTV's going to come out, and then there's going to be virtual reality, and then the prospect of things like virtual reality porn ... We're going to have to come to some sort of understanding with ourselves about how much of this we're going to allow ourselves because it's probably going to get a lot more fun than real life is." and then: "The idea that improved technology is going to solve the problems that technology has caused seems to me to be a bit Quixotic. For me, I understand there's a certain amount of hope about the internet democratizing people ... The fact of the matter is, if you've still got a nation of people sitting in front of screens pretending ... interacting with images rather than each other, feeling lonely and so needing more and more images, you're going to have the same basic problem. And the better the images get, the more tempting it's going to be to interact with images rather than other people, and I think the emptier it's going to get. That's just a suspicion and just my own opinion."
  10. And inspired historian, always relevant: But Palamabron called down a Great Solemn Assembly, That he who will not defend Truth, may be compelled to Defend a Lie, that he may be snared & caught & taken.
  11. The great Magical Realism author Gabriel Garcia Márquez died today at age 87. He is one of the few authors that wrote a passage so strong, that I remember where I was when I read it. Márquez is one of my primary influencers as a writer, although I shouldn't call myself a "writer" in the same sentence with his name. From "One Hundred Years Of Solitude," at the moment when José Arcadio Buendí­a, son of Úrsula Iguarán, dies from a mysterious gunshot wound: "A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the Street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendí­a's house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Ürsula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread. "Holy Mother of God!" Ürsula shouted." From this passage alone, the reader knew, beyond any doubt, that Ürsula was fully aware it was her son that died. This may be his most famous passage, and "One Hundred Years Of Solitude" is required reading, but it does Márquez a great injustice not to explore him in much greater depth. The short story, for example, "The Incredible and Sad Tale Of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother," found here, can be read in one evening, and is every bit as profound (in Spanish, "Innocent Eréndira" is written as "Cándida Eréndira," and the story is a riff on Candide by Voltaire). I wrote a passage from it the first night I ever met Chris Cunningham.
  12. Sad news ... "Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' Author, Has Died at 89" by Kendal Weaver and Hillel Italie on wtop.com
  13. I can't handle much more than Dubliners (which I'd *love* to discuss with someone if they started a topic about it, hint hint hint) ) - I picked up Ulysses once, and put it back down after about ten minutes, realizing I'd never finish it.
  14. It pains me to say that the great German author, Günter Grass, 1999 Nobel Prize winner for Literature and author of "The Tin Drum," has passed away at age 87. "Renowned German Author Günter Grass Dies, Age 87" on dw.de (Deutsche Welle) "Günter Grass, Nobel-Winning German Novelist, Dies Age 87" on theguardian.com "Günter Grass, Who Confronted Germany's Past As Well As His Own, Dies At 87" on npr.org "Günter Grass, Nobel Prize Winner, Dies Age 87" on telegraph.co.uk "Günter Grass, German Novelist and Social Critic, Dies at 87" on nytimes.com Last year, we lost Gabriel Garcia Marquez; this year, we lost Günter Grass. Like Marquez's "100 Years of Solitude," Grass's "The TIn Drum" is one of the most important works of contemporary literature I've ever read. A giant has left us today. Please share your thoughts and feelings about this great German author - this has hit me pretty hard, and I'd love to see some discussion of his life's work. "The Tin Drum" (1959) is one of those literary works which you'll most likely find more rewarding to read before seeing the film (1979), although the film is excellent, having won a Palme D'Or and an Academy Award.
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