Jennifer Schuessler’s super-interesting New York Times post, David Foster Wallace, Self-Help Reader inspired several reading journeys based on the work, life and death of the author who committed suicide in 2008. I wrote briefly about Wallace in 2009, wondering about whether I had unknowingly walked by him at Pomona College, in Claremont, California, where he was a professor, when I was in town to research my book.
The self-help angle was what drew me into the NYT post. When I clicked on the link to Inside David Foster Wallace’s Private Self-Help Library, by Maria Bustillos, at The Awl, I expected perhaps a list of some of the self-help books he read.…
Yesterday marked the 111th anniversary of the birth of the author Jorge Luis Borges, who died in 1986. Penguin has been releasing a series of collections of his poetry, prose and fiction this year, such as On Mysticism, On Writing, On Argentina and The Sonnets. For many years his work has been reissued in new forms, such as topically or in new translations; making it almost akin to the kind of rock album anthologizing and remixing treatments given to bands like The Rolling Stones. I was intrigued to see that The Borges Center has moved to The University of Pittsburgh.…Read More
Seemingly random discoveries are part of the pleasure of reading the work of Jorge Luis Borges, and of reading about him. The latest is my discovery of a feature in today’s independent.co.uk, Jonathan Romney’s On cloud nine: Turner Prize-winner Keith Tyson reveals the surprising ideas behind Turner’s mind-bending work. I had never heard of Tyson, a celebrated British artist, before this article. What drew me to it was the notion that Borges’ short story “The Library of Babel” was an influence on Tyson’s wide-ranging art. Tyson was awarded the coveted Turner Prize in 2002. Perusing his website shows him to be a visual artist of startling originality and variety, much like Borges was with the written word. The interview reveals Tyson’s varied and colorful life history, which indeed sounds like it could be fictional; if not written by Borges at least by a particularly imaginative author.…Read More
Although her posting ran nearly a month ago, check out Michelle Richmond’s I can’t bear to part with… on sfgate.com, the San Francisco Chronicle’s website. She explains that she is culling her bookshelves, but that some books not only couldn’t go, but “beg to be read again and again.” Some of the ten books on the list are new to me, such as The Palace of Dreams, by Ismail Kadare and The Death of a Beekeeper, by Lars Gustafsson. What initially drew me to her post was the inclusion of one of my all-time favorite books, Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges, as well as A Mathematician’s Apology, by G.H.…Read More
I have been a big fan of the Argentine short story writer/essayist/poet Jorge Luis Borges since his fiction was assigned by Professor Charles Larson for an undergrad literature course in the early 1970s at The American University. 2009 marks the 110th year of Borges’ birth. Take a few moments to read a perceptive, thought-provoking essay, Meeting Oneself by the Charles, in The Harvard Crimson on June 2nd by Pierpaolo Barbieri on the occasion of his graduation. Borges’ short story “The Other” is employed as a device by Barbieri to look back at the big picture of what he and his classmates learned and experienced at Harvard, and how that knowledge and awareness can guide them in the future.…Read More