George Prochnik, upcoming #LIVENYPL guest and author of “The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World,” writes about Zweig for The Huffington Post.
"There’s always some strange and telling efflorescence of the human predicament to be observed in Zweig’s work. A line from his novella The Burning Secret was chosen as the epigraph for a collection of stories he published the year he went into exile: ‘Gradually he became conscious of the amazing kaleidoscope presented to him by life.’ It’s this kaleidoscope that Zweig ultimately sought to hold up to the reader’s gaze, and the response he sought to kindle above all was sheer marveling admiration for the varieties of human nature. As he wrote in one biography, ‘if we admire more, and more intensively, than others, we shall ourselves grow richer than those timid ones who content themselves with choice morsels of life instead of grasping life in its entirety.’”
“Beauty slips through the door of our rational thought and gets us to see the world differently.”—Sarah Lewis reflects on “aesthetic force" in a talk at the New York Public Library, March 26, 2014. (via explore-blog)
I remember the late 1980s when Prozac took the world by storm. It was like Gangnam Style, except instead of one month, Prozac as a meme took five years to burn itself out. I remember it was hard to believe that a new psychotropic drug other than…
If you’ve ever spent a day (or 10) wandering through the greenery of downtown Vancouver’s Stanley Park, you’ve undoubtedly come across the famous Hollow Tree. The majestic (and literally hollow) tree has huge significance for many — even, as it turns out, beloved artist and Vancouverite Douglas Coupland.
“Within minutes of our first conversation, Karen Russell was describing the antics of a hypothetical sentient mustache. It would hail a cab and hop a flight around the world, she decided, sneaking away from its given face in the dark the night. We agreed it seemed a very mustacherly thing to do. “The mustache is not, like, paying its taxes.””—A Few Very Important Facts About Author Karen Russell, from Gapers Block. (Read the full interview here)
Watch The New York Public Library’s LIVE from the NYPL | Douglas Coupland & Chuck Palahniuk on Livestream.com. Can a literary conversation double as a social experiment? Absolutely, if the writers on stage are Douglas Coupland, author of Worst. Person. Ever., and Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk is most commonly known as the author of the novels Fight Club and Choke, both of which were made into films and released through 20th Century Fox. Of the former, the critic Rex Reed wrote, “Perhaps this film will find its target audience in hell.” In total, Palahniuk has written fourteen novels and two books of nonfiction. His newest novel, Beautiful You, will be released in October. Douglas Coupland was born on a NATO base in Germany in 1961. He is the author of the international bestsellers Generation A and JPod and nine other novels, including The Gum Thief, Hey Nostradamus!, All Families Are Psychotic, Microserfs, and Generation X, along with nonfiction works, among them a recent short biography of Marshall McLuhan. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages and published in most countries around the world. He is also a visual artist, furniture and fashion designer, and screenwriter. He lives and works in Vancouver.
You want to tune in to this one tonight. Beach balls with glow sticks. That is all that needs to be said.
The world of Jane Austen is growing steadily larger. While the focus of her fiction is notoriously narrow, geographically speaking, the world of her readers, viewers, and fans continues to expand with every new book, movie, TV series, and sequel base…
Jane Austen & Chuck Palahniuk (upcoming #LIVENYPL guest, author of “Fight Club”) in the same sentence? Check it out here.
Steve Hindy, upcoming #LIVENYPL guest, has been added to the lineup for this year’s L.A. Times Festival of Books!
From the L.A. Times:
"The L.A. Times Festival of Books announced on Tuesday the names of the hundreds of authors who will participate in the annual event. Taking place at USC, the Festival of Books is one of the largest literary festivals in the U.S., attracting more than 150,000 attendees. The 2014 Festival of Books will be held April 12 and 13.”
The New York Observer recently compiled a list of its top upcoming books - future #LIVENYPL guests Geoff Dyer and Karl ove Knausgaard made the cut!
From the spring preview:
Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush
by Geoff Dyer
(Pantheon, May 20)
It’s Geoff Dyer. Talking about his experiences aboard the USS George H.W. Bush. He’s the tallest and oldest person on the ship. If that isn’t enough to make you want to read it, you’re reading the wrong paper.
My Struggle Book Three
by Karl ove Knausgaard
(Archipelago Books, May 27)
Another year, another addition to Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume autobiographical novel, My Struggle. Book Two showed Mr. Knausgaard’s protagonist—named Karl Ove Knausgaard—starting a family with his second wife. In Book Three, he goes back to the early 1970s, to his own childhood. Book Three is billed by its publisher as “the most Proustian in the series.” No matter how you feel about Proust, the truth is that with each subsequent book of his that is translated into English, Mr. Knausgaard continues to solidify his reputation as one of the most vital writers working today.
Upcoming #LIVENYPL guest Elizabeth Kolbert, a staff writer for the New Yorker, recently examined the prospects of preparing for climate change:
"Promoting ‘preparedness’ is doubtless a good idea. As the executive order notes, climate impacts—which include, but are not limited to, heat waves, heavier downpours, and an increase in the number and intensity of wildfires—are ‘already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation.’ However, one of the dangers of this enterprise is that it tends to presuppose, in a Boy Scout-ish sort of way, that “preparedness” is possible."
Mr Knausgaard is the author of one of the most idiosyncratic literary works of recent years: a six-volume, 3,500-page autobiography called “My Struggle”, after Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. It starts with a portrait of his father’s alcohol-soaked death, ends with a meditation on Hitler and takes the author through the cycle of his life. Mr Knausgaard is now 45.
Watch The New York Public Library’s LIVE from the NYPL | Malcolm Gladwell on Livestream.com. Challenger of conventional wisdom Malcolm Gladwell brings his critical approach to the LIVE stage as he expounds on his newest interests. Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. Prior to that, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He lives in New York.
“My own experience and development deepen everyday my conviction that our moral progress may be measured by the degree in which we sympathize with individual suffering and individual joy.”—George Eliot (via thelifeguardlibrarian)
There have been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history. Now we’re facing a sixth.
Brad Plumer:What's the big thing you took away after reporting and writing this book?
Elizabeth Kolbert:Here's the big thing I took away, and it’s a very sobering thought: Many of our best qualities as humans —our creativity, our cleverness, our cooperation, the fact that we can work in these huge societies, and pass knowledge on from generation to generation — those things can turn out to be damaging. It's not just that we go out and poach things, although that's a problem. We've very smart and inventive and we can change the planet by doing things that have no evil intent. For example, going on vacation and bringing a bat fungus from Europe to the United States completely unintentionally. So it's not always clear how you would separate out what we do just by being human from what we do that has all of these unfortunate side effects.
Read more in this great Washington Post interview, and be sure to get your tickets to hear Kolbert speak with Nathaniel Rich on June 9th at nypl.org/live.
"The general process is just to splurge stuff out, without being particularly worried about the spelling or anything. Just splurging to make sure there’s something there. And then I begin knocking it into shape both at the level of the sentence and the overarching structure. But that initial phase is the one I increasingly hate, so I try to get it done as quickly as possible, in the five-minute bursts that I’m capable of putting in at the desk before I get up to do something else."
Read the full interview from The Paris Review HERE.
“But as anyone with the least knowledge of literature and writing—maybe art in general—will know, concealing what is shameful to you will never lead to anything of value. This is something I discovered later, when I was writing my first novel, when the parts that I was ashamed like a dog to have written were the same parts that my editor always pointed out, saying, This, this is really good! In a way, it was my shame-o-meter, the belief that the feeling of shame or guilt signified relevance, that finally made me write about myself, the most shameful act of all, trying to reach the innocence of the now burned diarist—self.”—Karl Ove Knausgaard said in an interview with Jesse Barron for The Paris Review. They discuss memory, personal crisis, artistic shame, and how he would burn My Struggle if there were less copies. Make sure to check out our review. (via millionsmillions)