Boys and Girls Book Club

For people who read things.

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Nora Ephron dead at 71

Jen Doll and Esther Zuckerman at The Atlantic Wire:

Ephron left behind articles, essays, books, finished films and films still in the works; she also left behind her words. Some of the most pervasive of her sentences, those most deeply embedded in our cultural lexicon, are those spoken by those beloved characters in her films. These phrases are romantic, hilarious, discussable, and debatable—they are the ones that pop up again and again. It’s not surprising that when the sad news broke last night, people immediately began sharing those words. Where did that come from? Often, the answer is Nora Ephron. We take a look at some of our favorites, and why.

Filed under obituary heartburn when harry met sally nora ephron breathe in breathe out

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Peter Pomerantsev of the importance of Lawrence Durrell and globalism in The Daily Beast:

Even the interview quoted from earlier in this article was not given to some august Anglo-Saxon journal but was first published, in Russian, in Syntaksis: a Cold War–era Russian refugee magazine based in Paris; the interview appeared in English three years ago in Zeitzug, an online literary magazine created by an Austrian poet living in Prague. It is always the “cross-patriates,” the hyphenated, who are drawn to Durrell.

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Another student loan solution, from yet another economist

Luigi Zingales, a University of Chicago economics professor, published an op-ed proposing a plan for college financing under which investors paid college students’ tuition and were paid back on returns in the amount of money students made surplus to what they would have without college. To me, this plan has been going on for quite some time under the name “parenting,” but the piece is well worth reading (NYT). Hamilton Nolan, in a rare show of positive attitude, approved of the plan (Gawker).

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The Tides of Change

At the Guardian, Edmund White’s thoughtful post on gay marriage and Obama:

When the president “came out” he was careful about mentioning the many gay couples he knew, even some in government, who had loving, “committed” relationships and who were parenting children. All pretty suburban, in my opinion. Must we be among the “good gays” in order to win our civil rights? If we’re too sexual, if we’re wearing drag or leather, if we have multiple partners, if we’re seropositive, will we be thrust beyond the pale? What if we don’t want to live with the same partner for many years or adopt a Korean daughter and join the parent-teacher association?

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On the New York Review of Books blog, Roberto Bolano on ‘Scholars of Sodom’. 

When I say “paralyzed,” I mean it literally, not as a criticism. I’m thinking of the way some small boys freeze when suddenly confronted by an unforeseen horror, unable even to shut their eyes. I’m thinking of the way some girls have been known to die from a heart attack before the rapist has finished with them. Some literary artists are like those boys and girls. And that’s how Naipaul was in my story, in spite of himself.


In the New York Times (of course) we learn how to eat like my grandfather almost definitely does from an economist:

How does he know it is good? Ethiopians eat there. It’s crowded. People look prosperous. But the two-page menu offers more clues. A few American items are tucked down in a corner, but other than that it is all Ethiopian. It has Ethiopian breakfast items. The descriptions are sparse, because why would they need explaining to its core audience? There are dishes on the menu that he doesn’t recognize. “That’s always a good sign,” he said.


Margaret Talbot uses an umlaut for coöperation in an otherwise spectacularly banal piece summarizing everything wrong with the New Yorker.

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Michelle Dean’s sarcasm on Joan Didion at the Awl:

Others were less wowed. A Kirkus reviewer noted that though she was a “talented scene surveyor,” “Miss Didion is no female Tom Wolfe.” (One can only admire the restraint that must have prevented some editor along the way from adding a comma and “thank god.”)

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The Upper West Side Ativans, the CIA, and Other Teams People Joined This Week

Daniel Smith asks “Do The Jews Own Anxiety?” at the NYT:

Responses included but were not limited to the following: the Los Angeles Kvetches, the Brooklyn Nazi Dodgers, the Kansas City Mohels, the Chicago Schlubs, the Miami Meshugeners, the Westchester Rhinoplasties, the Hollywood Indigestives and — my favorite, a late entry from my brother Scott — the Upper West Side Ativans.

Sherry Turkle’s piece on modern communication annoyed just about everyone, also at the NYT:

We’ve become accustomed to a new way of being “alone together.” Technology-enabled, we are able to be with one another, and also elsewhere, connected to wherever we want to be. We want to customize our lives. We want to move in and out of where we are because the thing we value most is control over where we focus our attention. We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party.

Michael Sacasas’s response to the above at the New Inquiry.

The Paris Review and its possible CIA ties described at Salon.

All of which means that at the dawn of the CIA’s era of coups and nefarious plots, America’s most celebrated apolitical literary magazine served, in part, as a covert international weapon of soft power.

John Lennon’s rarest book at auction, described at Booktryst

Alan Brody on Plato, Socrates and addiction, at Philosophy Now.

David Carr interviewed on the future of news at Talking Points Memo.

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Having a major space in your life suddenly vacated is no rarefied tragedy: it happens to most people, and likely more than once. But it takes a long time to fill that expanse inside you again, the minutes and habits and parts of yourself that used to be shared. This did not bother me then and it does not now: it’s a fact of a life in which you choose to love and I would not choose another kind.

- Lucy Morris, In Which We Barely Bring A Change of Clothes

Filed under relationship breakup lucy morris personal ambiguous tragedy single singleness alone together