Find Your Beach


Here’s English author Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books with an essay titled Find Your Beach:

[…] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

This woman is genius and can write.  Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach

Notes: Find her award winning book on Amazon here: White TeethPortrait of Zadie Smith: Bio at Wiki here: Zadie Smith 

Your writings have fundamentally changed me. For the better, Marilynne. I believe that.


She’s at the top of my list of favorite authors. Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize Winning novelist (Housekeeping; Gilead; Home), was interviewed by Wyatt Mason in an article titled The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson. Her new book Lila is coming out this week. Here’s a few excerpts from a yet another enlightening experience with the author:

[…] For Robinson, writing is not a craft; it is “testimony,” a bearing witness: an act that demands much of its maker, not least of which is the courage to reveal what one loves.

[…] A photo of her granddaughter sits on the living-room mantle, adjoining a pop-up Christmas card from the Obama White House, where last year she received a National Humanities Medal. (In his remarks that day to the honorees, the president said: “Your writings have fundamentally changed me, . . . I think for the better. Marilynne, . . . I believe that.”)

[…] The novel (Lila) confirms many things, not least of which is how Robinson’s work is unified by her belief in a sacred world whose wonders we have difficulty opening ourselves to, both privately and publicly.

[…] “Being and human beings,” Robinson told me, “are invested with a degree of value that we can’t honor appropriately. An overabundance that is magical.”

Don’t miss the full interview here by Wyatt Mason: The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson.

Book reviews on Lila: A Novel:

  • The Independent: Lila: A Moving Journey From Poverty to Happiness. “…the human story dominates, resulting in a book that leaves the reader feeling what can only be called exaltation.”
  • The New York Times: “Lila: Moral of the Story.” “…is not so much a novel as a meditation on morality and psychology, compelling in its frankness about its truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.”

Robinson’s new book is scheduled for release on October 7th on Amazon: Lila: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

Credits: Marilynne Robinson Portrait: The Independent

Choose. McEwan.


And if he had to choose between his books and his family? There’s no hesitation.

I adored having children.
Work and fatherhood have kept me sane.
The impulse to work is like a survival instinct.

~ Robert McCrum with English Novelist Ian McEwan

Don’t miss Robert McCrum’s great column on Ian McEwan in the Guardian here:

Ian McEwan: ‘I’m only 66 – my notebook is still full of ideas’

Ian McEwan, 66, is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. (Source: Wiki)

Quote Source: The Guardian. Photo Source: Fansshare. Bio Source: Wiki

James Joyce. His Bell Tolls (for me).

It continues to haunt. James Joyce and Ulysses. Unfinished, brooding on my book shelf. I first discussed his book in a earlier post: Just Can’t Finish. Then I tripped into this video. Luck? I don’t think so. It’s time. Time to pull it off the shelf and give it another whack…

Larry Kirwan, 71, Irish writer and musician, on James Joyce:

Never once did he doubt his own genius, and God knows he had a awfully hard life. He became almost blind to his always broke, always borrowing. And yet he knew his strength. His strength for story, and words and music. I think we read him because of his music and his rhythms.  Catching the soul of a person. And catching the inner dialogue, say in the Molly Bloom thing, you could never have met a woman and read Molly Bloom and know what a woman is about. He’s that strong a writer to me.

Frank Delaney, 71, Irish journalist, author and broadcaster, on James Joyce:

This is what he does better than anyone else. He understands the tiny sins, the tiny virtues, the tiny venalities, the tiny advantages that people will look for in life. And nobody else ever did that before and nobody, I would contend, has done it as well since.



It’s a big word for me.
I feel it everywhere.
Almost home.
Almost happy.
Almost changed.
Almost, but not quite.
Not yet.
Soon, maybe.

~ Joan Bauer, “Almost Home”

Joan Bauer, 62, is an award-winning author of young adult literature. Before publishing her first book, Bauer worked for the Chicago Tribune, McGraw Hill books and WLS Radio.

“I had moved from journalism to screenwriting when one of the biggest challenges of my life occurred. I was in a serious auto accident which injured my neck and back severely and required neurosurgery. It was a long road back to wholeness, but during that time I wrote Squashed, my first young adult novel. The humor in that story kept me going. Over the years, I have come to understand how deeply I need to laugh. It’s like oxygen to me. My best times as a writer are when I’m working on a book and laughing while I’m writing. Then I know I’ve got something.”

Quote Source: Image Source and Bio: Amazon and Wiki.



No pen,

no ink,

no table,

no room,

no time,

no quiet,

no inclination.

~ James Joyce (1882-1941) in a letter to his brother

Credits: Image – Thank you Sundog; Quote – Lapidarium

I’ll bolt the door

J.D. Salinger - A Boy in France

“I’ll read my books
and I’ll drink coffee
and I’ll listen to music,
and I’ll bolt the door.”

— J.D. Salinger, A Boy in France

The Saturday Evening Post, the nation’s oldest magazine, re-released in its July/August 2010 issue a rare J.D. Salinger short story, “A Boy in France,” first published in the magazine 65 years ago…The Post continues the magazine’s long history of publishing great fiction by re-releasing the story in memory of Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. Most of his earlier work, including the story in the July/August issue, has never been re-released. “J.D. Salinger’s ‘A Boy in France’ was originally published in The Post in 1945,” said SerVaas. “This evocative tale of a young solider struggling to maintain his sanity during the madness of war.” (Source: PRNewswire)

Credits: Image –  Quote: Journal of Nobody

How much of human life disappears into oblivion like this?

D.G. Myers

“Vladimir Nabokov was wont to fall into a reverie over nail clippings, bitten-off cuticles, tufts of lint plucked off a sleeve, bits of food picked from between the teeth and spat out. After disposing of these tiny scraps of human life, no one thinks of them any more. Since matter is neither created nor destroyed, what becomes of them? They go on existing, but in a realm beyond human concern. Nabokov called them the darlings of oblivion.

After nursing two of my children through week-long stomach viruses and then watching them bounce off to school this morning as if nothing had happened, I’ve been thinking about how much of human life consists of events that are also darlings of oblivion—the stomach cramps, the headaches, the sleepless nights, the full glasses of milk that are knocked over and spilled across the clean kitchen floors, the flat tires, the dead batteries, the traffic jams, the appointments that are late. Entire days can be lost to these events; they can be, at the time, as absorbing as tragedy; then, once they have passed, they are forgotten. How much of human life disappears into oblivion like this?  These darlings almost never find their way into literature. And why is that?…”

~ D.G. Myers (Excerpt from May 9, 2013 post: Darlings of Oblivion)

From D. G. Myers blog: I am a faculty member in the Melton Center for Jewish Studies at the Ohio State University, I am the author of The Elephants Teach (Chicago, 2006) and coeditor (with Paul M. Hedeen) of Unrelenting Readers (Story Line, 2004). Educated in the public schools of Riverside, I earned my degrees from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where I founded the literary magazine Quarry (later Quarry West) with Raymond Carver; Washington University in St. Louis, where I wrote a masters thesis on Stanley Elkin under Stanley Elkin; and Northwestern University, where I held the TriQuarterlyFellowship and studied under Gerald Graff and Joseph Epstein. For twenty years I taught at Texas A&M University. Now I live in Columbus with my wife Naomi and our four children: Dov, Saul, Isaac, and Miriam (“Mimi”).

The Power of One lives on…

Bryce Courtenay died yesterday. He was the author of one of my favorite books: The Power of One.  The Guardian writes the following about Courtenay:  He was born into poverty in South Africa and studied journalism in London.  He started writing late in life after a 30-year career in advertising.  He was known for his dedication to work and prolific output, often writing for 12 hours a day and usually producing one new book at year.  This short < 1 minute clip was produced by Courtenay a few days ago before he died.  Take a moment and watch…it is inspiring and moving.

And here are two of my favorite passages from “The Power of One“: [Read more…]


“Reading was my escape and my comfort, my consolation, my stimulant of choice: reading for the pure pleasure of it, for the beautiful stillness that surrounds you when you hear an author’s words reverberating in your head.”
~ Paul Auster

Sources: Quote – thank you creatingaquietmind.  Image: Artist Natalya Gaida via desvandelecturas.