“If the Literary Review cares about literature, and not just about having a good party, let its editors institute alongside the Bad Sex award a Good Sex award. Let them champion writing about sex that is subtle, tasteful, fully developed, and necessary. Let them show they take sex seriously, and can do more than snigger about it.” After years of risible purple prose, a call to celebrate good sex writing in fiction.
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
“It’s interesting to me that everybody looks, on one level, better in clothes than they look when they’re naked. And you never know what somebody is going to look like when they take their clothes off.” A preview of Chuck Close’s portfolio of nudes in our upcoming Winter issue.
“I, for one, cannot believe that a man of Mr. Kennedy’s stature and achievements was put upon this earth for no other purpose than to stop an assassin’s bullet.” —Princess Grace, from an unheard, 1965 interview from the JFK Library.
“The sea was cool and textured, riddled with particles and light, and stands of coral that flared up from the reefs like a flight of sparks, and he was certain he could stay down there forever. It was like radio, he thought, it was just space and waves, active and passive signals; it enveloped and protected you; it was a continous flow and you could lie down inside it and from the clamor of the land be exempt. Only there was something funny. There was something wrong. The colors were dimming as he moved ahead and he couldn’t really see all that well, and then before too long he could not maintain his depth. None of them could, he was sure of it, it could not have been unique to him, he could not have lost so much of his competence. He fought to see, and to stay down among the silent purposeless fish, but he had to come up, he had to, because his mask had clouded over with the residue of his own breath.”
“I might be content living with this little man in a cave, but it’s his existence that will keep me away from that selfish fantasy, and any other, darker one, that would deprive him of motherly care.”
Scott McClanahan’s readings are always highly memorable. As he wrote me about this, the video of his avowed final such reading ever, “I’m quitting. Yep, I’m just straight up quitting. It’s in Ohio which will make you want to quit anything—including LIFE. It involves breaking stuff.”
Apologies to buckeye readers.
Theory of Value
Said the banker to the cannibal:
You will come to no good end.
The wise man does not devour his capital;
he makes it work for him.
Reasons of the Heart
I do not wish to press the charges,
the girl said to the magistrate.
In Paradise the pear tree
still weeps for Augustine.