I am 22 and pregnant, which means I’m not a teen statistic, but you can chalk me up to the idiot percentages who think they know what they’re doing with a condom. When I was a kid, I planned my future around a timeline like the one I’m in. Then again, when I was a kid I planned to explore the earth by sea. Now there are no explorers left: satellites can read your watch from space and planes can take you across the planet in a day…
On 1979, an Israeli censorship committee chaired by the justice minister deleted five evocative paragraphs from Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s memoir: his first-person account of the expulsion of Arab residents from the towns of Lydda and Ramle during Israel’s War of Independence in 1947-49. The description contradicted the heroic official line, which pictured Arabs as fleeing the fighting, not being deliberately forced out by Israeli forces.
As he lay dying, Saul Bellow, “the most decorated writer in American history,” slipped back into consciousness, looked up, and asked, “Was I a man or was I a jerk?” Somewhere within that sentence lies Bellow’s greatness as a novelist—his fabulous sense of wonder and entitlement about himself, coupled with a magical gift for language and a rattling insecurity. This is what Zachary Leader writes about in his doggedly detailed and adoring biography of Bellow.
On October 9th, 2014, when the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to the French writer Patrick Modiano, it seemed to his loving readers as if their long quest on his behalf had finally been fulfilled. Not that this shy and modest man ever considered fame or awards, but that he never even considered that writing novels was a career.
Sodom and Gomorrah are burning, and the people are fleeing. Amidst the chaos, one disobedient refugee makes a fatal mistake. Lot’s wife turns back to gaze upon the ruins of her city—and meets swift retribution. In an instant, she is turned into a pillar of salt.