Never has a book taken over my life so thoroughly, but I’m not complaining. Living inside Susan Sontag’s mind is maybe the best place of all to live.
“Gide and I have attained such perfect intellectual communion that I experience the appropriate labor pains for every thought he gives birth to!”
a book about how dictionaries are made and the stubborn, chaotic, ever-changing English language. Stamper is funny and frank, denouncing most “grammar” as the preferences of a few dead white men and constantly making room for English to change its meaning and functionality (irregardless is now in the dictionary) without bitterness.
“Humanity sets up rules to govern English, but English rolls onward, a juggernaut crusting all in its path.”
following my tradition of discovering an author in reverse order, I read Susan Sontag’s journals, then her short stories, and next I’ll move to the essays. I really liked these, many of them are autobiographical or experiment with form, and they’re all beautifully written.
“She once told an interviewer that while the living room is fine for essays, short stories needed to be written in the bedroom. This distinction between outer and inner sancta seems a good way of approaching the contents of this volume. The stories are her innermost work.”
This book was so compelling I threw out my whole newsletter so I could write about it instead (& it will be waiting for you in your inbox tomorrow morning.) it’s poetry & memoir & philosophy all in one, all about the color blue, and about a lot more than that.
“Sometimes I worry that if I am not moved by a blue thing, I may be completely despaired, or dead. At times I fake my enthusiasm. At others, I feel I am incapable of communicating the depth of it.”
THIS BOOK ROCKED MY WORLD!!! Sheila Heti’s voice and her themes are definitely not for everyone, but if you like poetic, mostly plotless, and memoir-tinged writing you might like this. (if you aren’t sure message me, I can tell you.) this book is her journey to deciding if she wants to be a mother, “whether I want kids is a secret I keep from myself.” I read it furiously in one day, and I’m pretty sure I underlined 85% of it.
“Having children is nice. What a great victory to be not-nice. The nicest thing to give the world is a child. Do I ever want to be that nice?”
when people ask about my favorite book my first answer is usually the book I’m reading at that moment but my second answer is THIS. They’re short stories but also flash fiction but also mostly indescribable. Her voice is the voice you wish was inside your head.
“In fact, I liked teaching because I liked telling other people what to do. In those days it seemed clearer to me than it does now that if I did something a certain way, it had to be right for other people, too. I was so convinced of it that my students were convinced, too.”
Rating: 10/10 (I’ll post a less than 10/10 one next time promise)
Started reading this at 8 last night and came up for air, disoriented, 5 hours later. It’s a series of personal essays that make you wonder why you ever denounced the person essay. Maybe Chloe’s the only one who should really be writing them. She talks about friendships & small mistakes & big mistakes & the general chaos of being in your 20s.
It’s been a while since I read something and had to sit there for a few minutes and just feel it, but her essay The Music & The Boys was Striking. Anyways, I liked this book, can you tell?