Read and recommended this year:
1. Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter
2. The Round House, by Louise Erdrich
3. Dear Life, by Alice Munro
4. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls, by David Sedaris
5. A Better Angel, by Chris Adrian
6. NW, by Zadie Smith
7. The Tiger’s Wife, by Tea Obrecht
8. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Home, by Ben Fountain
9. As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, by Joan Reardon
10. Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich
11. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, by Reza Aslan
"More than half the questions I am asked are about the politics of the way I look. What it feels like to be not skinny/dark-skinned/a minority/not conventionally pretty/female/etc. It’s not very interesting to me, but I know it’s interesting to people reading an interview. Sometimes I get jealous of white male showrunners when 90 percent of their questions are about characters, story structure, creative inspiration, or, hell, even the business of getting a show on the air. Because as a result the interview of me reads like I’m interested only in talking about my outward appearance and the politics of being a minority and how I fit into Hollywood, blah blah blah. I want to shout, “Those were the only questions they asked!?"
— Mindy Kaling (interviewed by Lena Dunham) on the politics of the way she looks (via heidisaman)
"Write hard and write clear about what hurts."
(Speaking of writing hard and clear about what hurts: this.)
"Be with me, words, a little longer…"
— John Updike, in a poem he wrote for his 76th and last birthday.
"What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it."
— Joan Didion (via theparisreview)
"There was never any couple in love like us. We was meant to be together."
— James Davis in the New York Times story about honoring his wife’s last wishes to be buried in the front yard of the home where they spent three decades together.
(Source: The New York Times)
Favorite lines from Michael Brick’s essay “A Washington football fan breaks with tradition” in the New York Times:
1. “In the last days of his life, Grandpa told my younger brother to ‘always cheer for the Redskins.’
He knew we needed no such encouragement. It was just a way for a complicated man with a simple heart, a World War II veteran on his way out of a changed world, to connect with an uncomprehending grandson in the last few moments they would have to share.”
2. “…last week, a political cartoonist depicted the team logo alongside a swastika. It’s not a real debate in this country, I suppose, until somebody likens an ideological opponent to a Nazi.”
(Source: The New York Times)
"Nothing has replaced the writer. He or she is still stuck with the same old job of saying something that other people will want to read."
— William Zinsser
Sugar news you can use from Rich Cohen’s “Sugar Love” cover story in National Geographic this month:
1. “As far back as 1675, when western Europe was experiencing its first sugar boom, Thomas Willis, a physician and founding member of Britain’s Royal Society, noted that the urine of people afflicted with diabetes tasted ‘wonderfully sweet, as if it were imbued with honey or sugar.’”
2. “When people cut back, many of the ill effects disappear. The trouble is, in today’s world it’s extremely difficult to avoid sugar, which is one reason for the spike in consumption. Manufacturers use sugar to replace taste in foods bled of fat so that they seem more healthful, such as fat-free baked goods, which often contain large quantities of added sugar.”
3. The word “candy” comes from the Arabic word for sugar confection: qandi.
(Source: National Geographic)