What book would you read 100 times?
Stories that start off with somebody dying always feel like a con to me. We all know the place in the story that the dying happens. Once you understand how the card trick works – look over here, keep your eyes on this hand, there is no other hand – the magic is gone, and it’s just sleight-of-hand.
This site has been relocated.
(via @eliseblackwell on Twitter)
This book – by Nathacha Appanah, translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan – is reviewed by me in today’s Star Tribune, and comes to us from Graywolf Press.
There’s a lot to love about this story.
Photo: Friends of Stony Stratford Library via Facebook
…Which brings us to the Friends of Stony Stratford Library (UK) who organised their ‘Wot No Books’ campaign and harnessed the power of social networking to get the word out. Following the spread of news via Facebook and Twitter, the library’s entire collection of 16,000 books has all been loaned out – at one point forcing librarians to stamp 380 books per hour. The reason for this extraordinary action was to demonstrate the void that would be left behind if the library was closed down, as is planned by the Milton Keynes Council…
Today’s mail brought a review copy of The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise. (Verso, March 2011)
A long-suffering employee in a big corporation has summoned up the courage to ask for a raise. But as he runs through the coming encounter in his mind, his neuroses come to the surface: What’s the best day to see the boss? What if he doesn’t offer you a seat when you go into his office? And should you ask that tricky question about his daughter’s illness?
The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is a hilarious account of an employee losing his identity––and possibly his sanity––as he tries to put on the most acceptable face for the corporate world, with its rigid hierarchies and hostility to ideas and innovation. If he follows a certain course of action, so this logic goes, he will succeed––but, in accepting these conditions, are his attempts to challenge his world of work doomed from the outset?
When I am dead and my son comes to empty my house, he will find a small suitcase on top of my wardrobe crammed with the erasers I that I have amassed throughout my life. On every trip I have made, whether on the island or abroad, I have never been able to restrain myself, I have always bought erasers of different colors and sizes. My son will be baffled, he will perceive it as an old man’s whim. Perhaps I should explain to him that it has been my particular way of frustrating time’s attrition, postponing death and sustaining the illusion that one can always erase everything and make a fresh start.
– From THE LAST BROTHER, by Nathacha Appanah