Sunday Reading for The Writer

Posted by sepoy on December 19, 2004 · 2 mins read

It is absolutely freezing outside but we went to get a xmas tree. What is with the tree? Really. This pagan wants to know. Maybe I should put in a request to the great Sharon Howard.

  • In the NYT, Curtis Sittenfeld wonders aloud about the sexual magnetism of writers and their prose. Jhumpa Lahiri is namechecked. Is there a gender bias in public perception of a writer's hotness? I dunno but there are authors with whom I have fallen in love based on their ideas and their texts - they are predominantly male. That either proves Sittenfeld's thesis or disproves my heterosexuality. But, I also know a few Iowa Writers and I can vouch for their intense sex appeals - male and female. I predict groupies galore for them.
  • In the Telegraph, Noel Malcolm gives a warm reading to Bernard Potter's book about the curiously missing Empire. I eagerly await my copy of the book as I have taken to heart his admonishment to not review something one hasn't actually read.
  • In TLS, Ali Smith reviews the reviews of reviewer Rosemary Dinnage - a personal favorite of mine. "Part of her art," Ali Smith writes, "has always been an instinct for when and where to impress the presence of her own personality on both her readers and her subjects". Words of wisdom for all of us who write - blogs or dissertations or bestsellers.
  • Richard Taruskin is a renowned historian of music [particularly his Stravinsky work] who decided to write a single volume history textbook for college kids and ended up with a 13 year long-in-the-making, 4,000 page, six volume history of Western Music. Don't you just hate when that happens? The interview in NYT is quite fascinating and has elevated him to new heights in my estimation. Some notables in the interview: his answer to how a historian tackles objectivity [non-partisanly]; his conception of a historian [Yes, I feel very strongly that historians are storytellers]; and his short-term plans for the future [But first, I'm going to take a nice long nap]. So, it should be after the deed is done. And done well.


Sharon | December 19, 2004

Not sure if two requests is allowed. I should do some Christmassy links though, shouldn't I?

sepoy | December 19, 2004

Yes. Christmassy links would be most appropriate. Consider the earlier request null and void and simply help me understand why I dragged a 7 ft. tree into my living room. I will be in your debt.

farangi | December 20, 2004

I knew Curtis before she was a big famous novelist. She was tres sexy, even then, and would be desired whether or not she was a writer. Oh, Sepoy. You should see that smile. I get wiggly just thinking of it. She is one of my many, many crushes. But please, do not tell Ms. Farangi, to whom I am undyingly faithful. She is a jealous wife, and would kill me for honor's sake. Do you remember the soiree at Josh/Thisbe's house where Sheasdlfjasdo demanded we bail to visit low-class Iowa City bars? As we walked away, discoursing on Radiohead and the popular versus scholarly understandings of the term "Islamic Fundamentalism," we attempted to recruit that large gaggle of more mature and dignified folk to accompany us. Dear Ms. Sittenfeld was the one to explain to us, pateiently, that we were staggering idiots, and though we were amusing, she'd prefer to hang with us when I, at least, smelled less of whiskey, laser toner and hookah smoke.

sepoy | December 20, 2004

I remember so little of that night including, alas, Ms. Sittenfeld.