From the archives: August 2008

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Wednesday Book Club: The Road

Wednesday, 6 August 2008 — 5:03am | Book Club, Literature

This week’s selection: The Road (2006) by Cormac McCarthy.

In brief: Life after the end of the world is hardly new territory where literature is concerned, so McCarthy’s book—a simple story about a man’s efforts to keep his son alive as they trek across a charred and desolate America—lives and dies by its delivery. And my, what delivery: McCarthy chisels every sentence down to something material and terse. The novel’s instant canonization into American literary history is not without justification: the deceptive simplicity of plot and prose alike echo Hemingway, while its Southern Gothic undertones capably extend Faulkner’s study of how to make sense of a world in decay.

(The Wednesday Book Club is an ongoing initiative of mine to write a book review every week. I invite you to peruse the index. For more on The Road, keep reading below.)

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New York Minutes

Tuesday, 5 August 2008 — 10:55pm | Adventures, Jazz, Music, Pianism, Scrabble

I visited Manhattan for the first time before and after the Orlando NSC, and one doesn’t visit Manhattan for the first time without coming back with a swarm of impressions that cling to the memory like barnacles.

Not content with restricting myself to the usual landmark-hopping tourist experience of scheduling ill-lit drive-by shootings (now in digital), I thought it would be rewarding to amble around the City That Sleeps As Much As I Do with little planning and forethought, and let adventure ambush me as it will. At times, the excursion assumed the manner of a pilgrimage. Mecca, with less ululation. This isn’t to say that I didn’t tick my way down the usual checklist—the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the more navigable corners of Central Park, a Broadway production or two—but stopping there wouldn’t have made it my New York, and like any good tourist, I populated my list of things to see with a few sentimental items, guided as always by the invisible hand of personal entitlement.

So when I wasn’t busy getting lost in more of Central Park than most New Yorkers will ever see, I went looking for Scrabble and jazz.

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