on reading: 1079

it's high time for a post on reading. 

i've been reading infinite jest. for those who are unfamiliar, infinite jest is considered one of today's most smashing works of [dystopian] contemporary fiction. david foster wallace has written several books, but this one is a scary and apparently brilliant giant—the hardcover comes in at a healthy 1079 pages. for a bookgirl in her twenties, this is kind of the book of books, and it's a formidable one. when i bought it at last, the purchase felt ominous. to add ij to your library is to invest in a masterpiece that more or less scares the bejesus out of you, but which you must have... and therefore must read. it's rather scary. at least, that is how i felt.

however, i am liking it so far. for the record, i will sheepishly admit that i am a mere 60 or so pages in. also for the record: that is only 6% of the entire book. still, it's actually going rather well. i worried that i wouldn't get david foster wallace's ideas, or that i'd find his style too inscrutable... but i was wrong. dfw is carrying me along relatively effortlessly. plus, i'm okay with taking my time reading something so gargantuan. hopefully that means i won't miss anything. of course it would probably be good if i didn't wander off the tracks and into the thorny brambles of, um, other books.


case in point: one evening a week or two ago i was scheduled to work at an author event. predictably, i am the type of person who is always packing at least two books in her handbag. that day, however, i had no books. none. i mean—i'm reading infinite jest, and that lovely doorstop doesn't leave the apartment. and so i made the heartrending decision (not) to buy a new book. i had to choose between patti smith's just kids and deborah eisenberg's stories (so far)... and la eisenberg won.

and now, i am almost finished reading her short story collection... and only 60 pages into ij.

needless to say, it's time for some disciplined reading... sigh. wish me luck. it is evidently very hard for me not to be distracted from my reading by o t h e r  things to read. but i am adamant, and so here i go.

i'm going to leave you with a song that is in honor of the bluegrassy nature of my upcoming weekend (hellooo, outdoor music festival season...).

have a lovely wednesday.

images: 1, 2



recently, i came upon some delightful independent food publications. i promptly subscribed to them (my first subscriptions as an adult, hurrah!) and waited impatiently for the first ones to arrive.

the first to land in my mailbox was the beautiful, brooklyn-based diner journal. i found out about dj from miss moss—i loved the photos and description she posted, and i also loved that this magazine looked so different from other food magazines. it's a slender booklet, 3-hole-punched, filled with photography, stories, serious food writing, poetry and a plethora of other happy things. i got my first issue over the weekend and have been savoring it ever since. yum. have a look.

if i light a sparkler, will the fire 
department come?
the fire department is here?

what are you filling out?
a film that reminds you of food,
a food that reminds you of film.

this is yours make what you
want of it. a piece of leather.
here leah, honey.

this is issue #17, and it's built around the idea of the dinner party as odyssey. hence the quote on the back cover, and the bits of conversation twining around photos, looking like epic poetry on the page. it's seriously g l o r i o u s.

i will continue to page through issues of bon appetit and saveur, but i'm only happy subscribing to this type of down-to-earth food publication, with its unassuming, wild, smart personality.

the other thing i subscribed to is mcsweeney's newly hatched food publication, lucky peach, written for and by people who are crazy 'bout eats. the first issue comes out in june and i am so jazzed. it's mcsweeney's, so great writing is a given, and unapologetically odd morsels can be expected. also, david chang is behind its conception, and anthony bourdain is said to have some part in it as well. i can h a r d l y WAIT!

well, i'm sure you shan't disagree that it might be time for a morning snack now. if only i had some leftover goat lying around....

until next time, loves.
have a most excellent tuesday...!



stephen doyle of doyle partners makes art and creates designs that i love love LOVE. paper + occasionally wooden sculpture; book art, book-based sculpture. he won the national design award for communication design in 2010. i tracked his work down after seeing the illustration below, which was in vanity fair last month, decorating a really great article.

i love that image. it's gorgeous, and so ridiculous, and so true.
first, his money work. money with holes in it, money that looks like a sieve, money cut into ribbons. you get the idea, i'm sure....

and now, his book sculptures. in his own words, via felt+wire:

Q Why work with paper and books?

Books are where ideas come from. The book is such a great form. Before doing these works, I was making concrete casts of books. What interested me was, if you take all the information out, does the form still have any power?
Somewhere along the line I started wondering, well, what does happen when you take the ideas out? So, I started taking out the binding and the pages and setting the words free. And I’ve been working from there.

he specifically chooses particular books, such as machiavelli's discourses, which he used for the book tank (above). he says:
The tank is an MI-A1, which was employed in the invasion of Iraq during the Bush administration. There’s a quote in The Discourses by Machiavelli, the book I used, where he says, “Those who deceive are always able to find those who are willing to be deceived.” It’s a great quote because it puts the focus on the deceivees.
deliberate, careful, and always with a point.
read the rest of doyle's interview with felt+wire here.

have a lovely thursday!



 mmm, C O L O R ! today i present to you the art of kim macconnel. his work is like some sort of optical confection—so indulgent to look at, full of bright hues and these glorious color combinations. now i don't know about the rest of you, but around these parts we're having a second winter (okay, it's still about 50 degrees outside), after being teased by three sweet summer days. sigh. anyway, so it's nice to see these. they look like california.

which is appropriate, since that is where macconnel lives now. although he is actually a native of oklahoma. speaking of places he's been, i may as well mention that his paintings are inspired by his travels around the world, as well as picasso's method of "[lifting images] from the fabric of tribal society" (artworks magazine, winter 2010).

i hope summer comes soon.
music festival time is coming up, however. things are looking uP!

happy wednesday.


linda c

for some reason i've been interested in paintings lately. i saw some images by linda christensen in artworks magazine and i was intrigued—her paintings are in the impressionist vein, but some of them are laced with unexpected lines that draw the eye to each edge + corner of the canvas.

apparently, christensen only uses female subjects, because, she says, women are more expressive than men. at any rate, i quite like her work. they do make me imagine what might be going on in the subject's life, what she's thinking of, doing dishes or cleaning up. or whatever it is she is doing.

you can see more of christensen's work here, and read her blog here.

hmm, monday... well, here we go.


wyeth studies

in my modest art book library i have a book of andrew wyeth landscapes, which is appropriately called unknown terrain: the landscapes of andrew wyeth. while his art ruffles a decent amount of feathers in the art world (some find his work to be terribly predictable and kitschy, particularly in the avant-garde realm), i find some of it to be really lovely and quiet. my favorite works in the book, however, are the studies that preceded actual finished paintings. so that is what i want to show you today. (excuse the poor quality of some of these images, i don't have a scanner and photographing pages of a book doesn't often come out so well.)

i've always been drawn to fragmented images like these, where a part of a thing sort of floats in negative space. i love the unfinished, unvarnished look of these. perhaps part of their allure is that i can actually picture the artist working out the angles and curves of his subject in sketches + studies such as these. as a student of printmaking, i would often save proofs of lithographs + engravings, liking the roughness of the images, and the unplanned arrangement of print on paper.

and now—off into this sultry thursday...!


color blocks

sonia delaunay was a ukrainian artist. she helped found the orphism movement in art. her work epitomizes the orphism movement, which was defined by geometry + bold color. they're brilliant!

saturated colors, assertive shapes. she also worked with fiber, making quilts and textile art. fun fact! she was the first woman to have a retrospective of her artwork shown at the louvre while she was still living. i would love to see a great hall tiled with these!

also, she is responsible for this:

if i had a car, i would want it to look like this...! teehee. 
on to the rest of monday...
have a nice one, all.


another poem

i've had, i would say, four major phases in my life where i've been genuinely interested in poetry—interested in reading it, as opposed to writing it. because writing it is a very different activity. writing it, it's as if the word "poetry" is a thousand miles away. it's inapplicable. what i'm trying to do is make some new rowland emmett machine that doesn't have a name. i know of course that it's going to end up being called a poem, but "poem" is one of those bothersome technical terms. it's so difficult to pronounce. you either pronounce it "pome," or "poe-im" or "poe-em." it's not an english word, it's a greek word that's had the end chopped off it, so it doesn't fit—it's got that diphthongy quality. —nicholson baker, the anthologist

lucky for me i have a friend who lends me her poetry books. of late i have been reading sharon olds, getting completely absorbed in her words + stories. i remember learning about the art of the short story, reading alice munro and being carried along by her narratives, and realizing the measured, sensitive hand the best short stories require. sharon olds' poems embody moments that flower in my imagination to encompass a larger story, so i consider her something of a short story-writer, too.

in the dark square wooden room at noon
the mother had a talk with her daughter.
the rudeness could not go on, the meanness
to her little brother, the selfishness.
the 8-year-old sat on the bed
in the corner of the room, her irises dark as
the last drops of something, her firm
face melting, reddening,
silver flashes in her eyes like distant
bodies of water glimpsed through woods.
she took it and took it and broke, crying out
i hate being a person! diving
into the mother
as if
a deep pond—and she cannot swim,
the child cannot swim.

—sharon olds, from her book satan says


the great thing about poetry is that you can read just one poem and wind up with a new idea or thought or outlook. another great thing about it is that your new thought may differ vastly from someone else's. whether that thought stays with you forever or just for the day ahead, you've at least managed to get somewhere interesting... if only for a little while.

images: 1+2


cover embroidery, among other things

embroidered covers! yes.

awhile ago, i saw some images of penguin's latest foray into making their books even more addictive and irresistible... which they are calling "penguin threads." jillian tamaki is one of the artists who has been working on creating embroidered covers for penguin, and i daresay she has done some other brilliant work too. she's an illustrator, a frequent decorator of new york times articles and the pages of the new yorker, the atlantic monthly and national geographic.

i love that last image.
apparently, however, tamaki knows a thing or two about embroidery, as well:

too wonderful, right? it makes me want to learn embroidery. and embroider my own book covers. sigh.
these covers will grace the shelves of your local bookshop around october 2011. mark your calendars, folks.

what a month it's already been. here's to reflection and clarity in the wake of all that's been happening lately—!

onward with tuesday.