In our morning reading: interviews with Roxane Gay and Elle Nash, revisiting the works of Isaac Babel, and more.
Morning Bites: New Mount Eerie, Fiction and Comedy, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Sarah Gerard’s Latest, and More
New music from Mount Eerie, a look at what fiction can learn from comedy, new writing from Karl Ove Knausgaard and Meredith Graves, notes on Sarah Gerard’s new novel, and more.
Morning Bites: Christopher Hitchens, Bronte bidding wars, Man Ray’s datebooks, Pitchfork’s faves of 2011, and more
“May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.” – Vanity Fair’s tribute to the late Christopher Hitchens. Dashiell Bennett at The Atlantic also pays tribute to Hitchens. The Charlotte Bronte bidding wars. At The Rumpus: Peter Orner on the stories of Isaac Babel. Man Ray’s datebooks. Pitchfork names its top 50 albums of the year. And #1 is… The folks at Capital New York round up everything that makes them happy this week. […]
Morning Bites: Isaac Babel monument, Will Shortz editing crossword puzzles, Istanbul books, and more
Isaac Babel gets a monument in Odessa. This is crucial: How Will Shortz edits a New York Times crossword puzzle. Rest assured that the redesigning of the IKEA Billy bookshelf is not the death of books. Edward Champion takes a look. The ten best books set in Istanbul. The 1990s really are back! Income slides to 1996 levels.
Today, part 5 (of 10) of Grisha Freidin’s reasons for being “obsessed” with Isaac Babel: 5. Another Babel thread ran through my personal life. I married early to a young woman whose father, the sculptor Ilya Slonim, had known Babel very well. In 1916, in Petrograd, Babel practically became adopted by the Slonim family; their friendship lasted a lifetime. Ilya Slonim told us many stories about Babel and the ones he heard from Babel the raconteur. He also preserved Babel’s […]
Today, parts 3 and 4 (of 6) of Gregory Freidin’s reasons for being “obsessed” with Isaac Babel: 3. Around this time, at 16 or so, I discovered Babel’s “Odessa Stories.” If ever life imitated art, this was it. In my age cohort, many had a similar experience. Indeed, Jewish or not, if you were a cool guy, you knew Babel’s stories about the Jewish underworld of Odessa and flaunted your knowledge by peppering your speech with some of the fractured […]
Today, part 2 (of 6) of Gregory Freidin’s reasons for being “obsessed” with Isaac Babel: In the early 1960s, my family moved to a neighborhood a couple of miles north, Maryina Roshcha (Mary’s Grove), which turned out to be teaming with Jews who belonged to or in some way were associated with the underworld. Some were violent gangsters, others dealt in stolen good, drugs, pimping. A few were associated with the by then defunct Jewish Theater. My friends came from […]
Lately, I’ve been corresponding with Gregory Freidin, Professor and Chair of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Stanford, nice guy, and editor of 2 books on Isaac Babel. I’ve been interested in Babel for quite some time now, but after asking Freidin why he has dedicated so much time and effort to bringing Babel to the masses, I didn’t have the simple reply I expected; instead, Mr. Freidin gave me several lengthy, passionate answers. You should take them into consideration if […]