From The New York Review of Books blog:
“There is nothing more mysterious and wonderful than the way in which some bit of language—a clever quip, a pithy observation, a vivid figure of speech found in a book or heard in a conversation—remains fresh in our memory when so many other things we were at one time interested in are forgotten. These days, I look in disbelief at many of the books on my shelves, from thick novels and memoirs to works of great philosophers, wondering whether it’s really possible that I devoted weeks or even months reading them. I know that I did, but only because opening them, I find passages and phrases I’ve underlined, which upon rereading I recall better than the plots, characters, and ideas I encountered in these books; sometimes it looks to me that what has made the lasting impression on my literary taste buds, to use culinary terms, are crumbs strewn on the table rather than the whole meal.”
Read the rest here.
In yesterday’s New York Times Paul Rudnick described this video of David Rakoff as “essential.”
Jim Holt was supposed to speak at Chautauqua this week. To my great disappointment, his flight was canceled and he was unable to make it. I have been reading him since he wrote for the late great Lingua Franca and I was looking forward to hearing him talk.
Several years ago, Holt wrote an article for the New York Times making the case for memorizing poetry, a clarion call for learning poetry by heart.
Readers are invited to share their favorite poems in the comment section.