Skip to content

Posts from the ‘The New Yorker’ Category


The New Yorker 07 January 2019


Cover:  “Out in the Cold” by Harry Bliss

  1. I love to investigate The New Yorker’s covers.
  2. The magazine makes subtle statements
  3. …about current events.
  4. In other situations usually about Trump
  5. …not so subtle statements!
  6. This week ….here is what I found.


Puck Building, New York City:

The Austrian-born publisher of Puck, Joseph Keppler, commissioned the building in 1885. He’d launched an English-language version of his small German satirical magazine seven years ago, and Puck had become a milestone in the history of American humor.

The chubby sprite holds a hand mirror—the better to reflect society’s follies with—as well as a fountain pen. At his side hangs a book inscribed with his character’s jest in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “What fools these Mortals be!

The cherub dressed as up a Gilded Age dandy—complete with a top hat and frock coat. The coat is left wide open to expose his chubby nude figure, and in his hands he holds the keys to Puck’s reign of American humor: a fountain pen and a hand mirror.


Lauren Collins : Interview with Sally Rooney

  1. I expected this article to tell me more about the author and her book Normal People.
  2. Unfortunately the focus is on the previous book Conversations with Friends. (CWF)
  3. Zadie Smith praised CWF and could not believe it was a debut novel!
  4. Now, I value Smith’s opinion so perhaps I can start with this book.
  5. The Times in London  called Sally Rooney the
  6. “…first great millennial author.”
  7. My impression is that Rooney remained true to her attitude towards interviews:
  8. “One of which is a desire to be friendly and nice, because
  9. …I know journalists don’t love you to give monosyllabic responses.
  10. The second is: don’t tell them anything.
  11. Rooney was friendly  towards Lauren Collins
  12. …and didn’t say  anything new!


Profile:     Elizabeth Anderson   (1959)  by Nathan Heller

  1. Elizabeth is the chair of the University of Michigan’s department of philosophy.

  1. This article by Nathan Heller starts out very anecdotal and I almost lost interest.
  2. Then I stumbled upon a reference to her
  3. ….award winning book The Imperative of Integration. (2010)
  4. Elizabeth Anderson demonstrates that
  5. despite progress toward racial equality, African Americans
  6. remain disadvantaged on virtually all measures of well-being.
  7. This book is tough reading if you do not
  8. …read many books about philosophy
  9. …but I would at least give this one a try.
  10. Anderson is the winner of 2011 Joseph B. Gittler Award.
  11. No book buying until I reduce my TBR
  12. …but I did order a ‘free sample’ of the book from Kindle!



Profile:     Ruth Prawer Jhabvala    by   Maya Janasoff

  1. This article was a two-for-one deal!
  2. I learned so much about Ms Jhabvala who died in 2013.
  3. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, CBE was a Booker prize-winning novelist,
  4. short story writer, and two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter.
  5. She is best known today as the third member of the Merchant Ivory team..
  6. director James Ivory and the late producer Ismail Merchant.
  7. Their films won six Academy Awards.
  8. I have never read any of her books but plan to put
  9. …..them on my TBR.
  10. The author of this article is a discovery as well!
  11. Maya Janasoff – Coolidge Professor of History
  12. Harvard College Professor
  1. I am an avid non-fiction reader and never heard of the Cundill History Prize
  2. Maya Janasoff  (1974) has just won the Cundill History Prize
  3. ….recognizes and rewards the best history writing in English.
  4. Jasanoff won the 2018 Cundill History Prize valued at
  5. …$75,000 for The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World.
  1. In The Dawn Watch Maya Jasanoff
  2. ….follows Conrad’s routes and the stories of his four greatest works:
  3. The Secret Agent, Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness, and Nostromo.
  4. The Dawn Watch embarks on a spellbinding
  5. …expedition into the dark heart of Conrad’s world
  6. …and through it to our own.






The New Yorker 24 & 31 December 2018

Elementary  by Bill Blitt

Barry Blitt (1958) . He is a Canadian-born American artist. Blitt creates his works in traditional pen and ink, as well as watercolors.

  1. Cover:     Robert Mueller…..the most mysterious man in Washington!
  2. Mueller’s inquiry has been at once expanding and narrowing,
  3. ...gaining steam and losing momentum, intensifying and wrapping up!
  4. Mueller has kept virtually silent about where his investigation is going.
  5. This mystery is the  result of Mueller’s sharpest tactical decisions
  6. …setting off parts of his investigation to multiple U.S. attorneys’ offices
  7. …up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
  8. #SoftCollusion?    #HardCollusion?      #NoColusion?

  1. Jeffrey ToobinTrump’s Red Line
  2. Article about Adam Schiff (Democrat)…a person to watch in the coming years.
  3. He is per 01.01 2019 Chairman Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
  4. Schiff is investigating Trump.
  5. Is his Presidency a vehicle for advancing his business interests?
  6. Be ready to watch the sparks fly….again!
  7. Presidential candidate 2020 ?…Adam Schiff

  1. Ben Taub – is an American journalist. In 2017, he won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
  2. and a George Polk Award.
  3. Shallow GravesGruesome report of the aftermath killings after the fall of Mosul 2016-2017. Taub reveals that Iraqi government
  4. …claims numerous civilian massacres occurred at the hands of ISIS…
  5. when in fact Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization (Hashd Al-Sha’abi) did the killings.
  6. The Iraqi government has sought to minimize attention to such atrocities.
  7. Now Trump is visiting US troops who are (still) in Iraq.
  9. Several political parties in have released statements condemning Trump’s visit and
  10. ….calling for an emergency session in parliament to discuss
  11. the acceleration of legislation to evict American forces from the country.
  12. #NeverEnding conflict in Iraq!

BREAKING!  Ben Taub wins Pulitzer Prize 2020 for reporting!

 Guantanamo’s Darkest Secret  April 2019

Pulitzer Prize:

Mr. Taub, who joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2017, told the harrowing story of Mohamedou Salahi, an engineer who was accused of aiding Al Qaeda and spent 15 years at the United States detention camp in Guantánamo Bay. There, Salahi was tortured and interrogated, even as he maintained his innocence and insisted he did not hold extremist views. By turns compassionate and investigative, Mr. Taub entwined his exploration of Salahi’s plight with a broader examination of America’s years long war on terrorism.

Finalists Chloé Cooper Jones, freelance reporter, The Verge; Ellen Barry of The New York Times; Nestor Ramos of The Boston Globe

  1. Adam Gopnik (Book critic) – How café culture created modern liberalism
  2. Unlike the synagogue, the house of study, the community center, or the Jewish deli, the café is rarely considered a Jewish space.
  3. Yet, coffeehouses profoundly influenced the creation of
  4. …modern Jewish culture from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.
  5. Shachar Pinsker (professor of Hebrew literature)
  6. discusses on the influence of cafés on modern Jewish culture.
  7. Democracy was not made in the streets but among….the saucers!
  8. Irony: we all go to coffee shops
  9. ….just like they did in Warsaw, Berlin and Vienna
  10. …but today nobody talks.
  11. You only hear the click/clack of laptop keyboards.
  12. How…times have changed.
  13. I’ve looked at this book….good for a VERY interested reader of Jewish literature
  14. …but I found it difficult to like.

  1. Emily Nussbaum  (TV critic) – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  2. Pulitzer Prize winner Nussbaum is not impressed with this show.
  3. She even opened her heart for season 2.
  4. People change, shows change, critics change.

  1. Vinson Cunningham (Theatre critic)
  2. Slave Play  – provocative and explosive new play,
  3. …Jeremy O. Harris rips apart history to shed new light
  4. on race, gender and sexuality in 21st century America.
  5. and To Kill a Mockingbird (classic by Harper Lee)
  6. …play by Aaron Sorkin.
  7. I read both reviews and believe
  8. …Vinson Cunningham is a master of writing reviews
  9. …but masking this true feelings.
  10. He is person in control of his tone.
  11. Sometimes the critic can only highlight items in the performances.
  12. The reader must decode Cunningham’s thoughts
  13. …and decide  if the play is worth the time and ticket fee.
  14. Cunningham has a unique polished writing style!

Non fiction: Worst book 2018!



I cannot for the life of me understand the high
scores this booked has accrued on

Reading books that numb my soul
teach me to appreciate how
a good book can change a life!

This books wins the prize.
Worst non-fiction I read in 2018
and here is why…


  • If you have the time….here are my notes.
  • If you decide to skip this review
  • …I understand completely!


At Table In Paris:

  1. Liebling studied in Paris 1925-1926 and
  2. traveled around Normandy etc.
  3. The stories are filled with references
  4. to buildings and streets he knows well.


Paris the First:

  1. Liebling describes his visit to Paris with his parents in 1911
  2. He was 7 years old…and I wonder if a child is a reliable narrator.
  3. While Liebling’s parents dine on French food and wine “en ville’
  4. …he was firmly in the care of a dreaded nanny ‘fraulëin”
  5. This chapter was quaint but awful.
  6. It was an overblown narrative about childhood memories and
  7. fantasies with nanny and family in Paris.
  8. I lost interest about half way through the story.
  9. I hope the dispatches from the WW II years will be better.


The War and After:

  1. Unfortunately the reports written during Liebling’s time in Europe
  2. during WW II were disappointing to say the least.
  3. He is still gushing about food and wine and not
  4. enough storytelling about the people. Unbalanced.


Letter From Paris June 1940:

  1. Clinical tone…I expected more emotion describing the dread of
  2. invasion of Paris after Holland and Belgium’s swift collapse.
  3. The images I remember from Suite Française (I. Némirovsky)
  4. …are still vivd in my mind.
  5. Liebling did not come close to
  6. describing the angst the Parisians felt with the
  7. Germans standing ready to pounce on the city.


Westbound Tanker:

  1. Trip from England in convoy sailing to
  2. …Port Arthur Texas during WW II.
  3. This story was just pointless
  4. …waste of my reading time.


Quest for Mollie:

  1. This was not a WW II dispatch… was a novella!
  2. I just cannot understand the praise given to
  3. Liebling’s WW II correspondance.
  4. His stories are too long…and I cannot find a moment
  5. the hook ” that captures my attention.
  6. This is yet another chapter that I have started in good faith
  7. …and ended up being disappointed.


Days with the Daydaybay:

  1. Long description of Liebling’s
  2. ….walk around the streets of the Sorbonne.
  3. He recalls his student days there.
  4. Long description of Liebling’s entry into liberated Paris.
  5. The narrative includes his fellow reporters from other
  6. newspapers: Jack Roach and A. Morrison.
  7. This was one of the better stories….but still too, too long.
  8. Details, details and more details that numbed this reader.


The Hounds with Sad Voices:

  1. Liebling returns to Normandy (1957) and is
  2. searching for a chateau. All he can remember is
  3. the sound of hounds with sad voices near the building.
  4. But as always Liebling’s days end in restaurants.
  5. This is yet anothr gastronomic exposition….ho-hum.
  6. It is no surprise that Liebling loved his food and drink.
  7. He drank and ate excessively and reached a weight of 250 lbs.
  8. He sufferd gout in the later years of his life.
  9. He died at the young age of 59 yr.


City Life: The Jollity Building …and the rest of the stories

  1. The last half of the book describes
  2. …colorful promoters, boxers, trips to the
  3. ….Place Bar & Grill.
  4. Liebling loved the horses so we also
  5. read about the Turf & Field Club and Belmont Racetrack.
  6. Eating again…



  1. Libeling wrote for The New Yorker magazine so
  2. we can assume he was a good writer.
  3. But in my opinion the stories were too long and
  4. the pace was slow because of downpour of
  5. details that inundated this reader.
  6. Liebling’s vivid descriptions of boxing matches
  7. and other sporting events are of a bygone era.
  8. It did not interest me at all.
  9. In truth…I read 60% of the book…then skimmed the rest.
  10. I was glad when I could close the book.
  11. #SoDisappointed
  12. Reading books that numb my soul
  13. teache me to appreciate how
  14. a good book can change a life!
  15. This books wins the prize.
  16. Worst non-fiction I read in 2018….so far!

The New Yorker: 10 Sept 2018 “excellent short story”

  • Author: Saīd Sayrafiezadeh
  • Title: Audition
  • Published: 10  September 2018  The New Yorker
  • Trivia:  Sayrafiezadeh was a finalist for PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize
  • and he won a 2010 Whiting Writers’ Award for his memoir.
  • List Challenges 2018
  • Monthly planning
  • #DealMeIn2018  Jay’s  Bibliophilopolis


What is the hook?

  1. Well it has to be the first sentence:
  2. “The first time I smoked crack cocaine was  the Spring
  3. … I worked construction for my father on his new subdivision Moonlight Heights.”
  4. But no, this is not going to be all about drugs,
  5. Sayarfiezadeh tells us in the second line what he wants to achieve.
  6. I quote him because I could not have said it better….in a nutshell.
  7. “…jotting down details about the poeple I observe so I can
  8.   replicate  the human condition on screen  with nuance and veracity.”




1.Explain the title. In what way is it suitable to the story?
Audition refers to the main characters desire to become a stage actor.


2. What is the predominant element in the story?
a. 90 % Inner dialogue: the speech of a the narrator to himself.
b. He hears it and the reader hears it, but other
c. characters have no idea what’s going on in his head
d. 10% dialogue


3. Who is the single main character about?
a. Nameless narrator
b. boss’s son forced to learn life the hard way
c…..working at Dad’s construction subdivision.
d.”…just another working man in wet overalls.”


4. What sort of conflict confronts the leading character or characters?
a.external – a self made-father vs son “dreaming of fame, art and exhault” as actor
b.internal – an outsider seeking friendship.


5. How is the conflict resolved?
a. External – a real job carrying 60 pound drywall across
b.“damp floors and up banisterless staircases”
c. is better than being a carbon copy actor with no talent.
d. Internal – befriending Duncan Dioguardi
e. same age…19 years older but looks 10 years older
f. from a down and out working class neighbourhood.


6. How does the author handle characterization ?
a. Description by narrator (unreliable?) about himself and others.
b. Narrator: American teenage voice with adult voice behind it
c. Language is conversational, simple
d. Not defined by famliy (tension between father and son)
e. 19 yr, out of shape, gone to best schools,
c. at 15yr attending weekend acting lessons.
c. Duncan Dioguardi: 19 yr but looks 10 years older
d. at 15 yr chipping bricks at a demolition site for a nickel a brick.
e. Father: in powder blue Mercedes,
f. just another big shot in 3 piece suit and safety vest.


7. Who tells the story? What point of view is used?
a.1st person narration captures my attention
b. narrator is an unnamed 19 year old spoiled smart-ass.


8. Where does the primary action take place?
a. Subdivision building site Moonlight Heights
b. working class neighborhood of weather beaten 2-story red brick homes
c. basement/bedroom ‘theater’


9. What is the time setting for the action?
a. Spring 1990’s


10. How does the story get started? What is the initial incident?
Narrator recounts is on-the-job training at his father’s building subdivision.


11. Briefly describe the rising action of the story.
a. Narrator describes the difference between himself and the labourers.
b. “ My problems were not their problems but I wish they were.
c. Their problems were “immediate, distinct, resolvable.”
d. My problems were “long term, existential and impossible.”


12. What is the high point, or climax, of the story?
a. Epiphany – The author keeps the reader waiting
b. until the last paragraph…..builds tension!
c. ”I knew I was traversing some essential but unstated boundary,
d. but I traversed it anyway.


13. Discuss the falling action or close of the story.
a. Narrator realizes he still has time
b. to make new life decisions
c. that have nothing to do with the theatre.
d. ” It was midnight. Midnight was still young”.


14. Does this story create any special mood?
a. There is a mood of pathos created in the story.
b. Experiences that stir up emotions of pity, sympathy, and sorrow.
For Duncan it was job that is going no where.
d. Stacked in the corner were some carpentry manuals for beginners.
e. ”I dabble with those sometimes,” he said ”
f. but they won’t give a guy like me a chance.”
g. This evokes feelings of sympathy in readers.


15. Did you identify with any of the characters?
a. Of course, you can identify with the narrator and Duncan
b. Who has never wanted to make  a dream a reality
c….only to have their bubble burst?


16. Does this story contain any of the following elements?
a. Motif: –
There are many subtle and obvious references
b. to the theater and acting roles.
c. Father vs Son: “we played roles that  were generic superfical and true”.
d. Repetition, alliteration, contrasts, platitudes euphemisms
e…they are all there!
You have to pay your dues…
It takes as long as it takes…
It is mind over matter…
Whatever you set your mind to…
f. This makes the story a memorable experience of language.
g. Bravo, Saīd Zayarfiezadeh!
h. Irony: Duncan Dioguardi is bossy.
i. ”Put this here, put that there. He enjoys the power while the narrator
j. ”enjoys the cold comfort that I could burst his bubble by
k. telling him who my dad was.
l. But a good actor never breaks character.” (motif)


17. Can you find any examples of figurative language?

a. Images: Duncan:
b. He had a tattoo of a
c. ”…snake coiling around his bicep crawling up toward his neck
d. en route to devour his face…”
e. Images: nameless narrator
f. “…never get a tattoo
g. a performer must always remain a blank slate.
h. So here I was playing
i. …the role of general laborer with flawless skin.”(motif)


18.  Does the story have a thematic message?
After reading the story I had to think of the
b. lyrics of Eminem’s song “Nowhere Fast”.
c. This  song (…it is really a poem) expresses the feeling
d. I got reading about two boys from different
e. points on the economic spectrum
f….yet they bond and come together
g. …because they are so alike.

“Wasted youth, always on the road
Never lookin’ back and we’re never gettin’ old
‘Cause the skies are black
But our heart’s made of gold.”


19. What was the sentence that impressed you the most?
a. Duncan: “He’d lived twice the life that I’d lived,
b. while having none of my advantages.
c. He was what my father had been before he hit it big.
d. But Duncan Dioguardi was most likely never going to hit it big.
c. His trajectory seemed already established.”
e. This reminds me of the fatalism that oozes from this story.
f. Events are predetermined and Duncan
g….is powerless to change them.



  1. Strong point:  quite funny, and emotionally engaging
  2. Ending: an inevitable surprise
  3. satisfying but without neatly tied up conclusions.
  4. Depth: goes beyond the surface,
  5. goes beyond what characters are wearing.


  1. Strong point: The story felt like a bildungsroman
  2. …novel of maturation
  3. but compressed in a short story!


  1. Note:  I listened to the fiction podcast on The New Yorker wesite
  2. then I re-read the magazine copy.
  3. The podcast was the best!
  4. I can hear the rhythm of language, the alliteration, the contrasts.


  1. Message:
  2. “Who is the fool who agrees to move
  3. …thru space without saying a word?”
  4. #MustRead
  5. #MustListen


Last thoughts:

  1. After reading this story…I couldn’t go to sleep.
  2. I kept thinking and pondering this narrative.
  3. Two young men and
  4. “This was an outsized struggle in a midsized city.”
  5. That is impressive because not many novels
  6. affect me that way!
  7. The next morning I just sat at the laptop
  8. …and this review ‘wrote itself’.
  9. I may just concentrate only on short stories
  10. …for the coming weeks.
  11. Short stories are much harder  to write
  12. because the author has to do so much with so few words.
  13. Every word packs a punch.
  14. Writing short stories is truly a skill!
  15. Bravo, Saīd Zayarfiezadeh!



The New Yorker 01 January 2018


  1. I’m trying to keep up with my subscription of the New Yorker.
  2. Abandoned the hope of reading it in the week it arrives…
  3. I’ve settled for ….reading it in the month it arrives!


Who is the cartoonist George Booth?

  1. Cartoonist George Booth has spent four decades at the
  2. New Yorker constructing a distinct universe.
  3. In Booth’s world a bare lightbulb dangles precariously . . .
  4. a frayed carpet barely covers the living room floor…
  5.  flies buzz . . .
  6. a man looks up from behind his newspaper.
  7. And somewhere, in the foreground or off to the side,
  8. crazed dog  twitches involuntarily and there is an
  9. …unruly profusion of cats.
  10. Here is one of my favorites:

Update: 01.01.2018

  1. Today  I took time to learn more about the cartoonist (94 years) George Booth.
  2. Finally after all these years of laughing at Booth’s cat’s and dogs.
  3. …I now know the man behind the cartoons!
  4. George Booth (born June 28, 1926) is a New Yorker cartoonist.
  5. Over time, his cartoons have become an iconic feature of the magazine.
  6. In a doodler’s style, they feature everymen beset by
  7. modern complexity, goofballs perplexing their
  8. …spouses, cats, and very often a fat dog


Teens trapped between a gang and the law – J. Blitzer  [shocking…]

  1. I am left speechless about the situation in Long Island, NY
  2. ….that you never hear about.
  3. Gang violence is seeping over the border
  4. ….and terrorizing innocent young immigrant Hispanics.
  5. There are roughly 400 MS-13 gang members on Suffolk County Long Island.
  6. MS-13 has more than 50.000 members in Central America and 10.000 in the U.S.
  7. Unsurprisingly, MS-13 has become an obsession of Donald Trump.
  8. He talks incessantly about the gang,
  9. …portraying it as representative of a wave of immigrant crime.
  10. After reading this article….I’m not surprised Trump was elected.
  11. People are terrified and fed up with this situation!

A Tech Pioneer’s Final, Unexpected Act    by J.B. Stewart  [heartwrenching…]

  1. Upon receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer
  2. …Eric Sun set out to achieve some lifelong musical goals.
  3. After reading this article….I was  very quiet for a few moments.
  4. My worries, complaints all vanished before my eyes…
  5. It was this that hit me the  hardest:
  6. “ is hard to accept that modern medicine isn’t able to fix me.”
  7. At the same time, he wrote, “Every day I wake up not-dead is a gift.”
  8. I couldn’t read anymore….I had to go to bed and have a long hard think.


The Dark Bounty of Texas Oil by  Lawrence Wright  [Ho…hum…yawn]

  1. Yates Oil Field in the Permian Basin of West Texas. Yates
  2. …which has produced more than one billion barrels of oil, is
  3. …one of the most productive oil fields in the world.
  4. Situated in west Texas, eight miles south of Midland,
  5. …the 26,000-acre Yates field still holds the largest oil reserves in  US
  6.  outside of Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay.
  7. If  TEXAS were an independent country
  8. …its economy would settle in around 10th
  9.    larger than Canada and Australia. California!
  10. 50% of this article recaps the history of 3 important oil fields in Texas.
  11. The rest tells us that fracking gave Texas an economical boost...
  12. …that Hurricane Harvey had little impact on the oil fields.
  13. Nice to know…but not that interesting.





The New Yorker 18-25 December


Street Sense: How coach K guides Atlanta’s hip-hop stars.     [Eye-opener…]

  1. I try to at least read about hip-hop  The Rising Stars 2017
  2. I am amazed how the rap  music world rules the ‘sound waves’.
  3. This is an eye-opening profile about Kevin Lee aka Coach K.
  4. Nashville is home of country music….
  5. Detroit was once the center of Mowtown
  6. …now Atlanta Georgia is the hip-hop capital of the world.
  7. Coach K guides  Migos 
  8. and helps Stefflon Don  (UK’s rising star) enter the US charts.
  9. My music world started with the Beatles
  10. …..hip-hop feels like another planet!


I’m a Proud Nuclear-Missile Owner – Teddy Wayne   [Very funny…]

  1. This was a great article using a chatty tone
  2. what you’d expect from a relaxed, funny
  3. ..buddy sitting next to you on the couch.
  4. It is a parody, a satiric or ironic imitation of a speech by a NRA member
  5. …defending his right and need to carry a weapon
  6. this case ballistic missiles!
  7. The illustration was perfect….by Luci Gutiérrez.


China’s Selfie Obsession  by Jiayang Fan     [Strange…]

  1. Meitu’s apps are changing what it means to be beautiful in China.
  2. This was actually scary.
  3. It sounds like ‘real life’  science fiction!
  4. Young Chinese become Meitu stars in their video’s.
  5. Below each video came the comments and donations of teen-aged fans
  6. Some manage to easily clear six thousand dollars a week!
  7. What are Meitu apps?
  8. About 70% of social media users in China upload at
  9. least one picture to social networks every week and
  10. …they all must be adjusted with apps like:
  11. MakeupPlus – virtually try on top and trending makeup looks
  12. Airbrush – manual photo retouch and makeup looks
  13. BeautyPlus – instantly retouch their photos and video selfies
  14. Before:
  15. After:


The Poetry of  Systems by    A. Levy    [Stark contrasts…with the hip-hop world] 

  1. I read the article about hip-hop millionaires
  2. ….who have difficulty speaking English.
  3. Take the time to …just listen to this interview with Lil Baby!
  4. One if the hip-hoppers… rented a helicopter to let
  5. $ 30.000 dollars flutter down over a group of jubilant fans!
  6. What a waste…!
  7. Now compare that story to the heartfelt words and deeds
  8. done by Ophelia Dahl (Roald’s daughter).
  9. She has been trying for more than 30 years
  10. to improve the lives  and health of the poor  through Partners in Health.
  11. This is an aid organization that Dahl co-founded when she was very young.
  12. Dahl said:
  13. “…the world’s most fortunate people had a moral obligation to investigate—
  14. and compensate for—the suffering that underlies their comfort.
  15. Dahl said:
  16. “If we can’t connect our own good fortune with the misfortune of others,
  17. ….then we’ve missed the boat completely…”
  18. Nancy thinks: 
  19. Have the Hip-Hoppers in Atlanta Georgia…missed the boat?
  20. Hmmm….I wonder.


Estonia: The Digital Republic by Nathan Heller     [#MustRead….link is HERE]


  1. This is by far THE most interesting article in this week’s magazine.
  2. The Netherlands (my place of residence) is on the digital path:
  3. 50% of mortgages are secured online, taxes are paid online.
  4. But Estonia is the ‘future’ !
  5. Formerly imperialist powers have withered into
  6. nationalism (as in Brexit) and
  7. separatism (Scotland, Catalonia).
  8. It is possible to imagine a future in which
  9. ….nationality is determined
  10. not so much by where you live ….as by what you log on to.
  11. This is amazing!  #Must Read


Contributors:  Who are these people?

  • Kelefa Sanneh – journalist and music critic. staff writer since 2008
  • Teddy Wayne –  monthly column in New York Times;  contribtuer to the New Yorker .
  • Zadie Smith – English novelist, essayist, and short-story writer
  • Anthony Lane –  English journalist, currently a film critic for The New Yorker.
  • Zoë Heller – English journalist and novelist (Notes of a  Scandal)
  • Robyn Creswellcritic, professor literature at Yale;  poetry editor The Paris Review.
  • Hua HsuAssociate professor of English; director of American Studies at Vassar.
  • Anna Scotti – poet
  • Staff writers:
  • Jiayang Fan
  • Ariel Levy
  • D.T. Max
  • Nathan Heller



Cast of Characters: Golden Age of The New Yorker

Wolcott Gibbs, Dorothy Parker, James Thurber

  • Author: T. Vinciguerra
  • Title: Cast of Characters: Golden Age of the New Yorker
  • Published: 2016
  • Trivia: #NonFicNov
  • Trivia: List Reading Challenges 2017



  1. The New Yorker has and still is beyond rivalry to a
  2. position of supremacy among American magazines.
  3. It has attained this  by its the quality of writing.
  4. Of course, aspects of the New Yorker have always irritated people
  5. …its arrogant elegance.
  6. Raymond Chandler wrote:
  7. “Beyond the superficial sophistication the whole attitude of the
  8. New Yorker seems to me to have that same touch
  9. …of under-graduate sarcasm. (Ouch!)  (pg 206)


  1. But I have not lived a day of my life without the magazine.
  2. It was in our house in 1950’s.
  3. I adored the cartoons of Charles Addams as a child.
  4. I am still  addicted to the short fiction and profiles pieces.
  5. Book and movie, theater reviews?
  6. The New Yorker is my ‘first go-to source’.
  7. Hilton Als  is the current theater critic.
  8. He  has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
  9. Hilton Als never disappoints
  10. His reviews are literary works of art, magnificiant!
  11. He introduced me to some new  American Theater playwrights
  12. who are  serious, original, and deeply ambitious.
  13. Here are only a few worth reading….
  14. Annie Baker, Thomas Bradshaw, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins,
  15. ,….Richard Maxwell, Sarah Ruhl, and Young Jean Lee.


  1. I have had a subscription to the New Yorker
  2. …for more than 40 years here in The Netherlands.
  3. It is my most treasured ‘link and contact’  to the old country.
  4. I’ve read a biography of Dorothy Parker,
  5. What Fresh Hell is This
  6. Collection of Essays by E.B. White  and
  7. …many books by James Thurber.
  8. But I knew nothing about the abrasive Wolcott Gibbs.
  9. He was the  theater critic from 1938 until his death in 1958.
  10. Wolcott wrote  some of the magazine’s most remembered pieces.
  11. Wolcott Gibbs is by far the central character in this book
  12. .…followed by
  13. E.B. White, James Thurber, A.J. Liebling, Harold Ross, William Shawn
  14. …Charles Addams and Katherine White.
  15. Curiously…there was very little mention of Dorothy Parker
  16. …and Richard Bentley!
  17. If you love the New Yorker this is a …
  18. #MustRead



W. Trevor: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil

  • Author: William Trevor
  • Title: The Piano Teacher’s Pupil
  • Published: 26 June 2107, The New Yorker Magazine
  • #DealMeIn2017  Challenge



  1. Miss Nightingale’s pupil arrives at a critical juncture in her life.
  2. The boy sat behind the piano…she knew she was in the presence of genius.
  3. His music “took her with him into paradise“.
  4. When the boy came for his Friday lesson it was
  5. the “halcyon afternoon at the center of Miss Nightengale’s life.”
  6. But there were also “echos with memories” in the room.


Boy’s influence: 

  1. Distress and bewilderment feed vivid dreams.
  2. She was prey to thoughts she never had before.
  3. In the dark she pushed that all away.
  4. She did not look to see what was no longer there.
  5. taunted by unanswered questions:
  • father’s chocolates way of buying good behavior?
  • father’s devotion inducement to stay with him in the house?
  • father’s devotion is selfishness  dressed-up?
  • lover…had he deceived her as he did his wife?


Epiphany: She had been the victim.

  1. …of the boy – shown off to her his other skill…he could upset her life.
  2. …of herself – shown no emotions, learned to hide her feelings
  3. …of her “careless credulity” – believing in the honesty of others
  4. …of  wanting to believe what seemed to be –
  5. loving father  is in truth a calculating man entrapping her in the home.
  6. devoted lover is in truth a man who belittled love.



  1. All this was true but SOMETHING nagged
  2. ….was that something the truth she will never know?
  3. She felt she deserved to know the truth
  4. …owed to her as a moral obligation.
  5. It seemed a right, almost, that she should understand a little more.”



  1. The boy came back long afterwards…sat and played.
  2. There was mystery in the music.
  3. Miss Nightengale learns that…
  4. …”there was a balance struck…it was enough.”
  5. Miss Nightengale learns that…
  6. …mysteries in life are a marvel in itself.
  7. “She had no rights in this.”
  8. Accept the weaknesses, imperfections
  9. of others…fathers, lovers and pupils.
  10. Relish the love and joy they brought.


Last Thoughts:

  1. William Trevor is by far the master of the short story!
  2. He gives us a portrait of of ordinary people
  3. …lonely, the isolated and often the victims of society.
  4. Thank you Brona’s Books for inspiring me to ready
  5. your favorite short story author!


The New Yorker 24 July 2017

Cover:  “Grounded”  by Barry Blitt

This week we read about  Barry Blitt (1958) . He is a Canadian-born American artist. Blitt creates his works in traditional pen and ink, as well as watercolors.

He won first prize best cover of the year 2006 depicting President Bush being flooded in the Oval Office after Hurricane Katrina It is  entitled “Deluged”  and appeared on the Sept. 19, 2005 issue

President Barack Obama chose one of Blitt’s New Yorker covers to hang in the White House. The cover depicts the President picking the family dog at the same time as he is vetting candidates for his national security cabinet.


I had difficulty reading through this issue of The New Yorker.

It seems my favorite (…perhaps the best) writers are lounging on a beach somewhere.

Fortunately there were three writers  that did capture my attention.

Danielle Allen : Personal Historya political theorist and the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard. Danielle Allen is an academic and gives us a rivieting story about her cousin. “My cousin became a convicted felon in his teens. I tried to make sure he got a second chance. What went wrong?”  This was a very good article about Allen’s struggle to save a beloved cousin from sinking into the swamp of LA South Central criminal world. (photo: Sharon Renee Hartley)

Hua Hsu: Book critic –  contributor to The New Yorker. He is currently an associate professor of English at Vassar College.   This article was very informative…as I did not know much about Bob Marley. He  became a model for how artistic legacy has turned into an industry of its own.

Amazing:  2016, Forbes calculated that Marley’s estate brought in twenty-one million dollars, making him the year’s sixth-highest-earning “dead celebrity,”…”



Hilton Als : Theater critic –  Hilton Als, a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1994, has been awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Hilton Als never disappoints….his reviews are literary works of art,   magnificiant!
He mentions some American Theater playwrights in this review  who are  serious, original, and deeply ambitious. Perhaps their plays might interest you:
Annie Baker, Thomas Bradshaw, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Ruhl, and Young Jean Lee.
This week Hilton Als reviews:
Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau is an American playwright.
Morisseau grew up in Detroit, Michigan. Her mother’s family is from Mississippi.
Her father’s family is from Haiti
Morisseau is on the list of Top 20 Most Produced Playwrights
in America 2015–16, with 10 productions of her plays being produced

A mother’s hopes for her son clash with an educational system rigged against him in PIPELINE.  This looks like an explosive play to read or if you are lucky

….to watch at The Lincoln Center in NYC.

This is a deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future — without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.

Playwright: Dominique Morisseau      #MustRead play   Pipeline



James Wood:  Book critic – staff writer and book critic at The New Yorker since 2007.

Moving Kings    by  Joshua Cohen

  1. I always look forward to reading book reviews….but cannot for the life of me
  2. ..enjoy James Woods’ comments.
  3. His Book review  lacks a certain sensitivity that makes the article work.
  4. You have to be careful to write at the level of ALL the readers in the audience.
  5. This is not always an easy task.
  6. Unfortunately I went through Woods’ review asking myself:
  7. “Really, what does this mean?
  8. Am I crazy? Why can’t I figure out what this means”
  9. I will close with a few examples of phrases I had difficulty with:
  10. — his fiction displays the stretch marks of its originality
  11. What does this mean? Typical phrase to confuse instead of clarify!
  12. — sentences are loaded with the refuse of the real,
  13. with ….informational surplus of postmodernity. (sigh)
  14. sentence is also a micro-adventure in abundance!
  15. — ..David’s Jewishness has been atavistically reflexive… (hugh?)
  16. –unpersuaded by Cohen’s thematic ambitions, by this stabbing at similitudes
  17. I rest my case.
  18. This is the last review by James Wood I’m ever reading!


Moving Kings

The New Yorker 10 and 17 July 2017

COVER:                       Off the Leash    Dogs are Mark Ulriksen’s  favorite subject to draw!

Who is Mark Ulriksen?

  1. He is  a San Francisco California based artist whose
  2. …work has appeared on the cover of The New Yorker 48 times since 1994.
  3. Ulriksen’s cover for the February 27, 2006 edition of The New Yorker
  4. …won the 2006 an award for Best News Magazine Cover.
  5. The cover is titled Watch Your Back Mountain.
  6. It was prompted by the hunting incident of Vice President Dick Cheney.


  1. The BEST WRITERS   in this issue are:
  2. Hilton Als and book critic Jane Kramer.
  3. Hilton Als : Theater critic
  4. a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1994, has been
  5. ….awarded the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
  6. Jane Kramer: Book critic
  7. a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1964.



  • Hilton Als reviews  Marvin’s Room by S. McPherson and
  • ‘1984’ by G. Orwell (adapted by R. Icke and D. Macmillan)
  • Illustration for ‘Marvin’s Room’ is  wonderful in The New Yorker.
  • Unfortunately the  image cannot be copied so here is the
  • link for  the illustrator’s web site Chris Gash.
  • You can see his illustration there.

Marvin’s Room by Scott McPherson:

  1. The play turns around the characters
  2. dealing literally with confrontations with death at the core of the plot.
  3. The stage  performance is a single set  and an intense evening.
  4. Hilton Als’  review is refreshingly ‘critical’ as
  5. ….opposed to the movie reviews of Anthony Lane. (I don’t read them anymore….)
  6. A well-reviewed TV show, movie or play encourages people to watch it.
  7. But a good production  that appeals to the public
  8. …will generally rake it in at the box office despite evoking critical ire.
  9. So I hope critics keep doing their job…don’t be likeable…be honest.
  10. The play is being staged in the
  11. Roundabout Theatre Company, NYC (June 8 – August 27).
  12. This image is copied from the theater’s website.

  • I discovered two yearly drama awards in this article: THE OUTER CRITIC’S CIRCLE
  • …and the DRAMA DESK AWARDS.
  • If you are looking for a great play to read perhaps you will find
  • …some suggestions from the lists of current and previous winners.

“1984”  playing at The Hudson Theatre Broadway, NYC

  1. Following four wildly successful U.K. runs, the new stage
  2. adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece comes to New York.
  3. R. Icke and D. Macmillan’s  weakness in the adaptation of Orwell’s classic 1949 novel
  4. …and their thoughts how to dramatize it
  5. …resulted in a play that is more than the audience can handle!
  6. This is a measure of our limitation as audience members….not of their talent.


BOOK:        PRUSSIAN BLUE  by Philip Kerr

Jane Kramer: Book critic –  staff writer at The New Yorker since 1964.


  1. Prussian Blue, whose plot takes in high crime, sexual scandal, financial fraud,
  2. methamphetamines, and murder in Hitler’s Alpine dystopia
  3. during the week before the Führer’s fiftieth birthday.
  4. Philip Kerr‘s Bernie Gunther solves crimes for Nazi Germany.
  5. Why do we like him so much?
  6. Bernie  is one of crime fiction’s most satisfying and unlikely survivors:
  7. the good cop in the belly of the Nazi beast.
  8. Since then, Kerr has kept Gunther one step ahead of the Gestapo
  9. —not to mention the Mafia, the
  10. South American diaspora of
  11. death-camp commandants, and the
  12. Stasi—and scrambling for his life in novels that
  13. …cover more than twenty years of mid-twentieth-century German history.
  14. Thrillers are thorny gifts for critics.
  15. With a great thriller, the important thing is to tell the story while
  16. never giving anything away,
  17. certainly not who did it and, in the case of a Gunther thriller
  18. ….densely populated and always dizzyingly complex!
  19. #MustRead !!