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“I try and see what Wharton saw; what she loved and what she despised. I try to see the way things were when she was young; the way things were changing as she grew, the way she wanted things to look, and I try to reconcile that with what remains. When I do that, I have an easier time understanding Edith Wharton, her writing…”
Edith Wharton by design. The author was born on this day in 1862.
"I love watching animal movies on television, and they always say, don’t run away, and don’t turn your back, and don’t lie down flat. I love it—it’s from my childhood. How do you prevent dying? How do you prevent being eaten, or mauled, by a monster? I still worry about it!” - Maurice Sendak.
In honor of the illustrator and writer’s 85th birthday, Newsweek and Blank on Blank are proud to present this animated short about the beloved, late author, which is based off of audio we had left over from a 2009 interview conducted by Newsweek’s Andrew Romano and Ramin Setoodeh.
Do you want to ask him a question? Tell us your name, age, location, and submit a question for the author/editor/all-around-cool-guy. Use our ask box to submit your question!
David Rakoff, a “writer, aesthete, genius, New York devotee (the City was “the great love of my life,” he wrote), exceptional reporter and observer, performer, director and incredibly kind person,” has died of cancer. Give his This American Life episodes a listen.
The above screenshot is from his book, Half Empty, as screengrabbed by The Awl.
Jennifer Finney Boylan’s advice for you aspiring authors. Jennifer started her writing career as James Boylan, writing such bestselling novels as author of the novels The Constellations (1994), The Planets (1991), and Getting In (1998), and then became the first bestselling transgender author in 2003 with She’s Not There: A Life in Two Genders. Check out the full interview.
1. E-books: “That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government.”
2. Smartphones: “Great allies and enablers of narcissism.”
3. The Internet: “It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.”
4. Cats: “the sociopaths of the pet world.”
5. Experimental fiction: “It’s also in my Protestant nature, however, to expect some reward for this work.”
6. Schmaltzy fiction: “I cringe, myself.”
7. Michiko Kakutani: “the stupidest person in New York City.”
8. Insipid Broadway musical adaptations: “instantly overpraised.”
9. Author videos: “This might be a good place for me to register my profound discomfort at having to make videos like this.”