In idle moments I sometimes like to close my eyes and imagine Joseph Goebbels’ forty-third birthday party. I like to think that even in the busy autumn of 1940, Hitler might have found time to organize a surprise party for his close friend - pretending for weeks that the date had slipped his mind, deliberately ignoring the Propaganda Minister’s increasingly sulky and awkward hints, and waiting until the very last order had been dispatched to his U-boat commanders on the evening of Tuesday, October 29 before he led Goebbels on some pretext into the cocktail lounge of the Reich Chancellery. A great shout of ‘Alles Gute zum Geburstag!’, a cascade of streamers, some relieved and perhaps even tearful laughter from Goebbels himself as he embraced the Fuhrer, and the party could begin.Boxer Beetle by Ned Beauman
Books have a life and death of their own…It is impossible to separate the destiny of a book from the destiny of its author, and the destiny of the reader is also mixed into all of this…it is not the reader who is looking for a book, he is the one who is sought after, and there are manuscripts that hide in distant places for ages until they fall into the hands of the person for whom they were intended.
The Cyclist Conspiracy by Svetislav Basara
I’m becoming quite enamored of strong openings or, at least, ones that catch me in a certain way. I’ll post another one later that jumped out at me in quite a different way, but regarding this, it more than somewhat aligns with how I view the life of the book on the shelf and in the hand, how readers find what they want and need to read.
I think this is all fairly simple: every three-dimensional being doubles himself twice - reflecting himself outwardly and inwardly. Both reflections are untrue: the cold, flat likeness returned by the looking glass is untrue because it is less than three-dimensional; the face’s other reflection, cast inward, flowing along nerves to the brain and composed of a complex set of sensations, is also untrue because it is more than three-dimensional.The Letter Killers Club by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky
When his mother had finished reading, Author asked her if the story was for him. He didn’t mean it as metaphor, or exaggeration; he was asking sincerely - a little boy’s question - had Mr. Babel composed the story for author to hear?What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander
“I use to come here with Jessie, before I married her, and tell her what a hell of a fellow I was going to turn out to be. I don’t know if she believed that bullshit, but she used to get a far-off look in her eyes… .I’ve Been Reading Lately, the Annex: Lost youth, Maclean style
Her family was Catholic, but they all jumped the fence somewhere along the line. She was from Wolf Creek, population one hundred eleven, and my father married us in Helena. And that woman kept me in place.
I used to mourn the loss of my youth. I started when I was about twenty, and one day she said,’I knew you when you were young, Norman, and you were a goddamn mess.’” From Pete Dexter’s 1981 profile of Norman Maclean for Esquire, courtesy of Alex Belth of Bronx Banter.
Just finished Crimes in Southern Indiana. Simultaneously need a drink and never want to drink again.