The Musings of a Bibliophile

Fictitious Dishes, Famous Meals From Literature by Dinah Frie

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“I wanted to read immediately. The only fear was that of books coming to an end.”

—   Eudora Welty (via observando)

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“Do you know why teachers use me? Because I speak in tongues. I write metaphors. Every one of my stories is a metaphor you can remember. The great religions are all metaphor. We appreciate things like Daniel and the lion’s den, and the Tower of Babel. People remember these metaphors because they are so vivid you can’t get free of them and that’s what kids like in school. They read about rocket ships and encounters in space, tales of dinosaurs. All my life I’ve been running through the fields and picking up bright objects. I turn one over and say, Yeah, there’s a story.”

—   Friday would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday, which is why Dan Piepenbring, at The Paris Review Dailylooked back on one of Bradbury’s classic stories and picked out some choice quotes from his Art of Fiction interview. Piepenbring also pointed out that the story gets a mention in, among other places, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. You could supplement this by reading Tanjil Rashid on the author’s Middle East connection. (via millionsmillions)

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All images ©Catherine Holtzhausen

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14 Short Stories that Changed Me


BuzzFeed posted a pretty insightful list of short stories to read in your 20s, but, because I’m a snob and a writer and a reader, I think they left off some really important ones for people who are my age-ish.

But then there are others — stories which, in just a few pages, have shifted me and rewired the connecting roads of my thought patterns. So I wanted to share those with you because I am 27 and I am a young writer and these have changed the ways in which I think about writing and stories and characters and the world.

Here they are:

  1. You’re Ugly, Too" by Lorrie Moore: Lorrie Moore is brilliant beyond all reason, but for some reason, this weird little story really struck me. 
  2. The Love of My Life" by T.C. Boyle: Unf. There’s no way to explain this heartbreaking story. 
  3. What You Pawn, I Will Redeem" by Sherman Alexie: Alexie has called this the best story he’s ever written. It’s a beautiful, moving insight into the lives of those living in extreme poverty. It’s wonderful. 
  4. The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson: You really shouldn’t be allowed to call yourself an adult without reading this creepy-weird story that was so shocking when it came out in 1948, people cancelled their subscriptions to the New Yorker. They also asked where they could see the actual lottery occur. 
  5. Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff: BuzzFeed got this one right. This story will make you reconsider what a story can even be about.
  6. Day-Old Baby Rats by Julie Hayden: God damn I love this story. I could listen to the Lorrie Moore reading literally every day of my life. 
  7. Where is The Voice Coming From?" by Eudora Welty: I accidentally own two copies of the same volume of Welty’s stories, but it’s not that great of an accident because she is brilliant and this story is told so beautifully, but so simply. Also, allegedly, Welty wrote it in like, one feverish night, so it’s a good reminder to young writers that sometimes a voice really does just come to you. Also, it’s a great read in light of the horrific racism in the media/policing that is currently being processed and hopefully dismantled. 
  8. Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx: Another one BF got right. This story is heartbreaking and lovely and terrible. 
  9. The Life You Save Might Be Your Own" by Flannery O’Conner: Clearly, I have a soft spot for Southern Gothic, but this is a great story and also a reminder of female roles, etc. 
  10. Dutchman" by Amiri Baraka: This is a play but I think it still counts because it’s incredible. 
  11. Uncle Wiggly in Connecticut" by J.D. Salinger: "Nine Stories” is a beloved book, and BF wasn’t incorrect in listing “Bananafish,” if only for the shock value and the intimacy of the storytelling, but I think this simple story is a lot more powerful, especially for 20-something women trying to have it all. 
  12. The Lesson,” by Jessamyn West: A story about animals but also about life and farms and the fair and things that I still love deeply, even as a city kid. 
  13. Brownies” by ZZ Packer: Budding shouty ladies are the star of this story. It’s lyrical and sharp. 
  14. Sea Oak” by George Saunders: I can’t imagine my literary life without George Saunders for so many reasons, but this incredible story is one of them. 

Of course, there are a zillion great short stories and I love the medium generally, so naturally, I’ve left some off. But these ones are special, at least to me. I thought you might like them.

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Are you stocked up for the weekend?

the strand bookstore (p.b.) 

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Literary classics imagined as YA books. 

See the captions in full here.

Image Credit: JASON BOOHER for EW

Some of these don’t need to be “re-imagined” to be YA, but we love the covers!

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Jane Austen’s novels maintain a universally enduring appeal right up to this day and are loved both in print and as film and TV adaptations.

The aim for this updated set was to create a desirable look that would convey a modern and brave take on Austen’s traditional tales of love, family and status within society.

The illustrator of the series Leanne Shapton had this to say about her style:

"The nice thing about patterns is that they can evoke a certain mood or tone, but also be neutral. I loved creating a consistent handwritten label style for the six books and then thinking of which patterns might obliquely suit the titles. I think the patterns we chose quietly compliment and correspond to the stories. My favorite is Mansfield Park."

The full set comprising of Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility are published this week.

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