Smart Reads: John Cheever, Ira Glass, and Minimalist Histories


Smart Reads: John Cheever, Ira Glass, and Minimalist Histories


Today in culture: Ira Glass blows balloons while talking about blow jobs, Cheever turns 100.

-Annals of adorable: Ira Glass (self-taught magician) teaches you how to make balloon animals and answers questions about love and sex.

-“To me it’s like that line in the great Italian novel, Lampedusa’s The Leopard. If you want things to stay the same, everything’s going to have to change.” Lorin Stein interviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

-Tawada’s work…is characterized by concordances one doesn’t know what to make of and perceptions that may or may not need to be discounted. A narrator’s own sounds and experiences often shapeshift in ways alien to her, and everything feels haunted—often somewhat comically—with almost readable significance, and often with irony.” Rivka Galchen on Yoko Tawada.

-Hypocrisy and technology: obvious bedfellows.

-“I should call my next book And So Olivo D’Havellind and You Will Move Away From this Place I Call Home. It’s sure to win the Pulitzer.” Literary fiction as genre.

-Minimalist histories of famous figures (spoiler alert: Michael Jackson’s will blow your mind).

-Photoshop before photoshop: 150 years of photo manipulation.

-“We peeked into Cheever’s classroom. He was seated cross-legged on a blond oak desk and looked like a Noël Coward leprechaun. Blue-and-white-striped Brooks Brothers shirt, unpressed khakis. John Cheever wore size-six Weejuns.” John Cheever at 100.