Over the course of the past one hundred years, we humans have grown in population at a rate rarely seen outside of a petri dish. Alan Weisman, author of the best-selling The World Without Us, spent two years traveling to twenty nations to investigate what this population explosion means for our species as well as those we share the planet with—and, most importantly, what we can do about it. His book Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? will be released later this month. Orion managing editor Andrew D. Blechman met with Alan at his home in rural Massachusetts, amid birdsong and the patter of rainfall, to discuss some of the most serious issues ever to face the human species.
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"The Student’s Wife" is from Raymond Carver’s first story collection, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please, published in America in 1976. You could say it’s from Ray’s "early period" – written possibly as early as the late 60s, when he was one side or the other of 30 years old. Its verbal resources are spare, direct, rarely polysyllabic, restrained, intense, never melodramatic, and real-sounding while being obviously literary in intent. (You always know, pleasurably, that you’re reading a made short story.) These affecting qualities led some dunderheads to call his stories "minimalist", which they are most assuredly not, inasmuch as they’re full-to-the-brim with the stuff of human intimacy, of longing, of barely unearthable humour, of exquisite nuance, of pathos, of unlooked-for dread, and often of love – expressed in words and gestures not frequently associated with love. More than they are minimal, they are replete with the renewings and the fresh awarenesses we go to great literature to find. When they were first published in Britain by Collins Harvill, they made a great sensation that quickly spread all over the world, and made Ray (who was lovable, anyway) adored as the great story writer of his generation. Which he was. And is.
Paul Auster remembers the car accident that nearly killed him and his family. It’s one of a series of brushes with death from his new book, "Winter Journal." Auster also recalls dirty fights as a child, sitting next to his mother’s lifeless body as an adult, the crumbling of his first marriage and the slow breakdown of his own body over time. Paul Auster joins us to talk about aging, death and the power of the written word.
5by5 - The Incomparable #74: I’m Definitely Not a Girl
- Pretty In Pink by The Psychedelic Furs
- Kiss Me On The Bus by The Replacements
- You Get Me by The Broken Family Band
- All Her Favorite Fruit by Camper Van Beethoven
- Bachelor Kisses by The Go-Betweens
- Slow Show by The National
- Let Me Lie To You by Afghan Whigs
Highlights from the 92nd Street Y universe.
The Times of London called Raymond Carver the "Chekhov of Middle America." Carver’s tremendous influence on subsequent writers and the short story form is legendary. We discuss his life and work with Carol Sklenicka, author of the new biography, "Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life."
James’s new book, “Connected”… Unintentionally influencing your friend’s friend’s friend… How happiness is like the flu… Obesity spreads like an idea …… … but don’t try to lose weight by dumping your fat friends… An old shampoo commercial, voting, and Facebook pseudo-friends…
We were apes before we were humans. But humans were the onetime apes who ultimately mastered fire and cooked.
Primatologist and anthropologist Richard Wrangham says that in evolutionary terms, that made all the difference. And not just because it put flambé on the menu.
Fire meant proto-humans could cook. Cooking, he says, meant they could get dense, empowering nourishment. Then came bigger brains, a different body and — voila! — homo sapiens. Complete, he says, with a social structure built around that fire.
From the New Yorker fiction podcast: David Bezmozgis reads Sergei Dovlatov’s "The Colonel Says I Love You" and discusses it with The New Yorker’s fiction editor, Deborah Treisman.
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