The preface to Susan Cheevers biography of Edward Estlin Cummings made me want to read the whole book. She begins by describing the time the poet came to speak at her school, where Cheever was a miserable 14-year-old sophomore with failing grades.
This is not a book about an aircraft carrier. What is it? Thats not easy to say. In many short chapters amounting to a short book, Geoff Dyer chronicles his two weeks as writer in residence aboard the USS George H.W. Bush, using himself as a not-so-transparent lens on Navy life.
Bad feminist is a self-deprecating term for what ends up sounding like a very appealing sort of person. A bad feminist, by Roxane Gays description in her eponymous essay collection, is someone who supports fair treatment of women but who doesnt necessarily agree with every feminism-associated or feminist-espoused idea, someone who believes in certain principles, yet acts against them sometimes, and with varying degrees of self-awareness.
I read it to [anonymous little boy] twice and cried both times, my friend, then a nanny, told me. We were talking about Peter Pan, which I had read upon her recommendation. We agreed that the novel was sad but disagreed about why. My friend thought it inevitably disappointing that Wendy grew up, leaving Peter behind. As an adult having read the book, I think the story is sad because Peter refuses to grow up and that this is unfortunate for all parties.
At least in books, its easy to see the ends. I make this quip because endings and their ambiguity are one of the themes of Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight. And also because for much of the book, I couldnt wait for the end to arrive.
I really enjoyed your book, which offers a survey of graceful people along with analysis of how each embodies that ineffable quality, which you describe early in the book as “the transference of well-being from one who is calm and comfortable to those around him.”
Emotion-rich scenes from Gerard’s life stand alongside straightforward descriptions of historical events unencumbered by editorializing. These hybrid personal-and-reported essays are the best of both their worlds.
Wang travels and translates between the worlds of reality and psychosis.
In Virginia Woolfs novel Night and Day (1919), the description of Ralph Denhams bedroom includes this phrase: The only object that threw any light upon the character of the rooms owner was a large perch, placed in the window to catch the air and sun, upon which a tame and, apparently, decrepit rook hopped dryly from side to side.