Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 2141889 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3190 on: February 22, 2023, 08:33:53 pm »
Regarding book collections. I've had to cut myself some slack, or, as I call it, Lee-way.  :laugh:

I don't have a huge collection of fiction, and most of it would be called literature more than fiction. That is all contained in a 12-shelf bookcase that folds in on itself. The rest is nonfiction. I have a whole bookcase of gardening and naturalist books and another one devoted to Scotland and its history. There is a reading nook with a comfy sofa and two end tables piled with books, a coffee table (similarly piled) and a nearby crate of books that are in various stages of being read. Then, there are my bedside tables, one that has books piled on top and a turntable with small books on a shelf. The other bedside table holds my New Yorkers. There is a three-shelf bookcase in the hall for genealogy, American history and other overflow books. For coffee table oversize books, I have a dictionary stand which allows me to display two of them.

That's the downstairs. One of the main reasons I stopped renting out my upstairs was because I wanted to use the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves in the spare bedroom upstairs. There now is a motley collection of children's books, novels, and permaculture books that cause me pain to see. Every so often, I fill up a box with more books. It goes into the garage and after several months, I take it to donate to a housing project or free little library. But I can hardly believe how long I keep books that I doubt I will read.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3191 on: February 23, 2023, 09:34:02 am »
Regarding book collections.

I've managed to donate a few, but so far not nearly enough.

And then I go adding more because you can get them for 99 cents (sometimes two for 99 cents) at the thrift store. There are also inexpensive internet sites where you can get books, too.

Right now I've promised myself that I was going to read an entire series of novels by one author featuring the same two characters, and then donate the whole set to the thrift shop.
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3192 on: February 23, 2023, 12:58:23 pm »
I pared my collection way down when I downsized and moved to this apartment. Too much so, I now think; sometimes I'll go looking for a book I once owned and can't find it.

Almost all of my books are nonfiction. A friend who reads all or mostly fiction and I guess trusts my taste often asks to borrow books and I'm running out of any to lend. When I first moved into the apartment, I for some reason found my old paperback of The Great Gatsby and reread it for the first time in maybe 20-30 years. It holds up!  :laugh: I think if one had to name a Great American Novel, that might be it. I just ran across an essay posing the possibility that Gatsby was Black, and while I doubt F. Scott Fitzgerald was woke enough to think of such a plot and write it in a way that suggested he was Black without coming right out and saying so, it's at least interesting to consider the book so versatile it could work that way.

I have similar stacks of books I'm in the midst of reading or planning to read, along with stacks of New Yorkers and a couple of other magazines to which I have free subscriptions (OK, if you must know, they're Cooking Light and Real Simple and Vanity Fair. That last one I keep meaning to cancel because I don't really read it and I can't stand the perfume smell.) Most of my subscriptions are digital, though -- the Atlantic, NYT, New York, WaPo, Star Tribune and whatever else.




Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3193 on: February 23, 2023, 03:06:30 pm »
Not sure where I heard this NPR story (maybe it was A1?) but just a day or two ago there was a program about how the new AI apps could be used to cheat on essay tests. The educator who was being interviewed talked a lot about whether it was important for students to be able to expound on the meaning of the green light in TGG. I thought, "what green light? I don't remember a green light in TGG." I just remember the enormous eye on a billboard, the ice, the shirts in many colors, etc. I looked it up and apparently it referred to a light on the end of Daisy and Tom Buchanan's boat dock. So, there you have two of your recent interests intersecting.

The educator also talked about AI's ability to write a good 'compare and contrast' essay. They read part of one comparing The Iliad with Dante's Inferno. This made me think about how C&C essays have grown in importance over the years. I hardly ever remember writing even one, while my children wrote several in their English classes. I think these C&C essays do little to develop critical thinking and reflecting skills.
"chewing gum and duct tape"

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3194 on: February 23, 2023, 04:02:31 pm »
Yeah, we never had to do C&Cs as far as I recall but they don't seem particularly useful.

What upset me was that neither of the high schools my kids attended (we lived about halfway between two, so they went to different ones) offered classes in creative writing. I'm pretty sure there were lit classes (although come to think of it I don't remember seeing them reading any literature in high school, at least not that was assigned). And yes, of course they wrote papers in history class or whatever. But they had no opportunity to write fiction or poetry, as I did in HS. Is that because they went to school in a city and I grew up in in a somewhat wealthier suburb, or did those classes fall victim to budget cuts?


Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3195 on: February 24, 2023, 01:36:22 pm »
I don't recall any creative writing courses in my HS either but we had to write papers in our English classes and some were stories and poems, in addition to lots of essays. I took AP (advanced placement) English for two or three years and the papers were required to be typed and to have chapters or subheadings.

Nowadays, I think students do more one-page essays on related topics that are kept in a three-ring binder so at the end of the semester, they have a coherent record of a topic. At least that's the idea. My daughter wants me to work with the grandchildren on writing stories that they put up on Google Drive. Usually Chapter 1 is about 2 pages long, Chapter 2 is a couple of paragraphs and Chapters 3-5 are all shmushed together in a few lines. These stories start out well, but you know that by page 2 or 3 one of the following is going to happen: aliens from outer space appear; zombies appear; superheroes appear; or all three. The illustrations feature guns and knives. Now, my granddaughter has started writing stories. These are a little more diverse and usually contain a dragon, an island, a castle, a fairy princess, or all four.
"chewing gum and duct tape"

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3196 on: February 24, 2023, 04:22:10 pm »
I don't recall any creative writing courses in my HS either but we had to write papers in our English classes and some were stories and poems, in addition to lots of essays. I took AP (advanced placement) English for two or three years and the papers were required to be typed and to have chapters or subheadings.

Well, I think mine were English classes with writing requirements too. I don't think my kids had that kind of classes at all. The main things I remember were getting an A+ for a druggy poem about a Foghat concert  :laugh: and having a teacher save one of my fictional stories to read to subsequent classes. Oh, and in junior high, "The poetry of Bob Dylan."

Quote
Nowadays, I think students do more one-page essays on related topics that are kept in a three-ring binder so at the end of the semester, they have a coherent record of a topic. At least that's the idea.

Many people don't like writing labeled "essays" -- it's hard to sell essay collections, because they associate the term with dry papers that start with "In this paper, I will show that ..." and end with "So in summary, we have seen that ..." rather than, say, Norah Ephron or Joan Didion or David Foster Wallace.


Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3197 on: February 25, 2023, 01:37:22 pm »
Jesse Eisenberg's S&M in the latest issue isn't knee-slappingly funny, by any means. But it's a pretty decent concept and he doesn't get too carried away with it.

I often wonder if people like Jesse Eisenberg and Mindy Kaling are automatic shoo-ins for publication if they submit a half-decent column? They have agents, after all, which makes a huge difference. I think there's very little the New Yorker will accept unagented.



Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3198 on: February 25, 2023, 02:00:46 pm »
Jesse Eisenberg's S&M in the latest issue isn't knee-slappingly funny, by any means. But it's a pretty decent concept and he doesn't get too carried away with it.

Are you damning with faint praise? I didn't so much as twitch a smile muscle. There were a few clever sentences. That's as much as I can say.

However, there were a couple of really funny cartoons that came afterwards and redeemed the issue for me.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #3199 on: February 26, 2023, 12:00:59 pm »
Are you damning with faint praise? I didn't so much as twitch a smile muscle. There were a few clever sentences. That's as much as I can say.

Hmm ... feels more like encouraging a slow learner. "Come on, New Yorker, you can do this! You're on the right track here; the concept has some potential, now all you have to do is make it funny!"