Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Thursday, September 29, 2011

heroines part the fifth

A small break from DFW quotes. I know I've shared these Jane Austen quotes before, but they always recur to me at different moments. This summer it was this one that I kept thinking about:

The mere habit of learning to love is the thing.

Yesterday I was flipping through my notebook, and stumbled upon this one, and it seemed quite apt:

When a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way.

What "quotations which are so serviceable and so soothing in the the vicissitudes of [your] eventful lives" are you thinking about these days?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Like many Americans of his generation in this awkwardest of post-Imperial decades, an age suspended between exhaustion and replenishment, between input too ordinary to process and input too intense to bear, Sternberg is deeply ambivalent about being embodied; an informing fear that, were he really just an organism, he'd be nothing more than an ism of his organs.

—David Foster Wallace, from "Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way" in Girl with Curious Hair

Monday, September 26, 2011


You should be aware that I am going to be talking about David Foster Wallace, or at least quoting him, a good amount in the following posts. You see, right now I live in Wallacelandia. It is all David Foster Wallace all the time. I'm in a class dedicated to him, and everyone in the class is getting a little crazy-eyed. DFW is in our heads. Last night, for instance, while spending time with a gentleman friend. I couldn't stop thinking about DFW, and allusions to him kept slipping out. Imagine me grabbing a young man by the lapels and shouting, "Are you being sham-honest with me? Are you being sham-honest?!"

To give you an idea, here is one of the interviews from David Foster Wallace's Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.

B.I. #19 10-96
Newport OR

'Why? Why. Well, it's not just that you're beautiful. Even though you are. It's that you're so darn smart. There. That's why. Beautiful girls are a dime a dozen, but not—hey, let's face it, genuinely smart people are rare. Of either sex. You know that. I think for me, it's your smartness more than anything else.'
'Ha. That's possible, I suppose, from your point of view. I suppose it could be. Except think about it a minute: would that possibility have even occurred to a girl who wasn't so darn smart? Would a dumb girl have had the sense to suspect that?'
'So in a way you've proved my point. So you can believe I mean it and not dismiss it as just some kind of come-on. Right?'
'So c'mere.'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hip Poem

Read "Hip Poem" by Idaho alum Jennifer Yeats.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

On Esme's Bookshelf

Books I read in August (post-Spain)

The Villa by Nora Roberts.
The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter.
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. Volume 1 in the Wicked Years.
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire. Volume 2 in the Wicked Years. Lacked the driving force that Elphaba (the wicked witch) gave to Wicked, but had its moments.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Book 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
Girl with Curious Hair by David Foster Wallace.