Teaser Tuesdays: The Mindful Writer by Dinty W. Moore

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

mindful writerI always enjoy reading Dinty W. Moore. This is a re-release of a 2012 book, with a new introduction and writing prompts. I love its super-brief-chapter format, and its wisdom.

What a strange world where people will snicker at you for wanting to work on your writing for four hours but will often be totally accepting if you tell them you are planning to spend an entire day watching football on television.

Ah, Dinty. Truth.

Bonus: this observation follows a perceptive Harry Crews quotation. I still want to get around to reading Harry Crews.

This is a slim little book, but a powerful one.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History by Dan Flores

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

Coyotes seem to make consistently interesting reading – for me at least – whether Native American mythology or the natural history that is handled here.

coyote america

I thought I’d share one of the fascinating tidbits I learned. Coyotes interbreed quite avidly with red wolves in the southern U.S.; not so the gray wolves of the West.

Mech also points out that killing coyotes, not mating with them, is intrinsic to gray wolf behavior. Julie Young of the Predator Research Facility even told me that in experiments there, coyotes inseminated with gray wolf sperm actually killed the puppies they bore.

They are quite clear on their preferences, it seems. That makes sense to me, considering the Trickster Coyote I knew as a child from books like Coyote &. Stay tuned…

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: Joe Gould’s Teeth by Jill Lepore

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat.

Teaser

This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. Please pardon the double-teaser. I couldn’t choose.

First and more complicatedly, Lepore quotes her subject, Joe Gould, in a letter to Ezra Pound in 1930. Gould is known (among other things) for being supposedly at work on a massive “Oral History of Our Time.” The parenthetical is hers.

joe gould's teeth

“Of course, I am a book-reviewer not a critic. That, I fear, is a distinction. It seems marvelous how many critics there are. And the blathering pother they make… Here is something cheerful to think about. To some extent the radio will supersede printing. That is good. There will be fewer books.” (The Oral History, he once explained, would include a discussion of this transformation: “I intend to write a series of chapters on the various means of communication, from oxcarts to airplanes.”)

I really wanted to share the oxcarts-to-airplanes concept because I thought it was delightful. But of course I couldn’t help going up a bit to see the book-reviewer-vs.-critic question, too! And as a bonus: people have been predicting the death of the printed book since way before e-readers. (Spoiler: Joe Gould died in an insane asylum.)

I was also struck by Lepore’s observation, below.

It has taken me a very long time, my whole life, to learn that the asymmetry of the historical record isn’t always a consequence of people being silenced against their will. Some people don’t want to be remembered, or heard, or saved. They want to be left alone.

Compared to the tone of the first teaser I chose, this second is more sober, and sobering. It’s an interesting concept for a historian to keep in mind – for the purposes of research strategies, but possibly ethics as well.

Check out Joe Gould’s Teeth. It’s outstanding.

This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Terry Tempest Williams is as wonderful as ever. As I explore her work, I keep returning to her lesser-known Pieces of White Shell as my personal preference, but The Hour of Land is a new favorite.
hour of land
In these essays, she applies her wise, poetic eye to place, history, ecology, the future, and how we relate to one another, resulting of course in phenomenal writing. Naturally I turn to her chapter on Big Bend for today’s teaser, a single line I loved.

Ocotillo is a green withheld in winter.

Keep your eyes open for this treasure to come in June.


This quotation comes from an uncorrected advance proof and is subject to change.

Teaser Tuesdays: The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This is an exceptionally strange one, friends. I got a little confused. This was recommended as one of The Ten Best Books About Cycling. But early pages (hours) were devoted to an odd friendship, an odder murder and reanimation, and the main character’s obsessive devotion to and criticism of a fictional philosopher.

third policeman The plot remains weird, which I have come to accept is partly the point; and now we have got around to bicycles.

“I do not want to be insidious,” he said, “but would you inform me about your arrival in the parish? Surely you had a three-speed gear for the hills?”

“I had no three-speed gear,” I responded rather sharply, “and no two-speed gear and it is also true that I had no bicycle and little or no pump and if I had a lamp itself it would not be necessary if I had no bicycle and there would be no bracket to hang it on.”

“That may be,” said MacCruiskeen, “but likely you were laughed at on the tricycle?”

“I had neither bicycle nor tricycle and I am not a dentist,” I said with severe categorical thoroughness, “and I do not believe in the penny-farthing or the scooter, the velocipede or the tandem-tourer.”

MacCruiskeen got white and shaky and gripped my arm and looked at me intensely.

“In my natural puff,” he said at last, in a strained voice, “I have never encountered a more fantastic epilogue or a queerer story. Surely you are a far-fetched man. To my dying night I will not forget this today morning.”

I am totally tickled, naturally. Stick around, and I will try to illuminate the weirdness for you in my final review. For now: worthwhile.

Teaser Tuesdays: Portrait of Hemingway by Lillian Ross

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

I have read some good books lately – wait til you hear about Lily and the Octopus, oh man – but I’m not sure there’s anything as pleasing and comfortable for me as coming back to Hemingway.

Portrait of Hemingway
This profile was originally published in The New Yorker in 1950, and follows the man closely for two days. That’s it: an anecdote in the life. There is also a most interesting preface, but I will leave that for my review. These are the lines I wanted to share with you today.

He always woke at daybreak, he explained, because his eyelids were especially thin and his eyes especially sensitive to light. “I have seen all the sunrises there have been in my life, and that’s half a hundred years,” he said. He had done considerable revision that morning on the manuscript [of Across the River and Into the Trees]. “I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast – talk them or write them down,” he said.

I feel like that sometimes, too. His sentences are better, though.

Teaser Tuesdays: Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research by John Steinbeck and Edward F. Ricketts

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

I love Steinbeck. I know we just saw this one in a book beginning, but there is more to love. Check out this paragraph.

sea of cortez

The safety-valve of all speculation is: It might be so. And as long as that might remains, a variable deeply understood, then speculation does not easily become dogma, but remains the fluid creative thing it might be. Thus, a valid painter, letting color and line, observed, sift into this eyes, up the nerve trunks, and mix well with his experience before it flows down his hand to the canvas, has made his painting say, “It might be so.” Perhaps his critic, being not so honest and not so wise, will say, “It is not so. The picture is damned.” If this critic could say, “It is not so with me, but that might be because my mind and experience are not identical with those of the painter,” that critic would be the better critic for it, just as that painter is a better painter for knowing he himself is in the pigment.

I think this is a lovely echo (better than the original) of a post I wrote just the other day. And I appreciate the insertion of this idea about critics, since I consider myself one: that we need to recall our place, acknowledge that my impression is only my own. I hope I remember to do that.

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