Louise Glück: where to start with an extraordinary Nobel winner

Louise Glück: where to start with an extraordinary Nobel winner

— Weiterlesen www.theguardian.com/books/2020/oct/08/louise-gluck-where-to-start-with-an-extraordinary-nobel-winner

“I feel like a tracker in the forest following a scent.” Louise Glück on how she writes.

“I feel like a tracker in the forest following a scent.” Louise Glück on how she writes.

“I feel like a tracker in the forest following a scent.” Louise Glück on how she writes.

— Read more at lithub.com/i-feel-like-a-tracker-in-the-forest-following-a-scent-louise-gluck-on-how-she-writes/

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 dies | Cornell Chronicle

<Ruth Bader GinsburgProvided

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 gives remarks in 2007 during the unveiling of a plaque announcing Cornell Law School’s role in establishing the Center for Documentation on American Law at the Cour de Cassation in Paris.


By Blaine Friedlander  | September 18, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54, whose legal career in the fight for women’s rights, equal rights and human dignity culminated with her ascent to the U.S. Supreme Court, and who – as an octogenarian – became a cultural hero and arguably the most beloved justice in American history, died Sept. 18 in Washington, D.C. She was 87.

Ginsburg died from complications of cancer, according to a statement from the Supreme Court.

Ginsburg’s protection of equality and the advancement of the rights of all people, particularly women, helped to transform American society. Working at the American Civil Liberties Union in 1972, she founded the Women’s Rights Project. She researched and argued six gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court in the 1970s, winning five.

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed Ginsburg to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. President Bill Clinton nominated her to the Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Byron White in 1993.

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah had suggested Ginsburg to Clinton, as did U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno ’61, an admirer of her legal work. Hatch, considered by President Ronald Reagan for the high court, called Ginsburg a “highly honest and capable jurist.”

Clinton interviewed Ginsburg and later said he was instantly impressed, submitting her nomination to the Senate the next day. Ginsburg sailed through the Senate’s confirmation.

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a true hero and a giant of American jurisprudence. A relentless champion of equity, she dedicated her life to innumerable, honorable causes, always fighting for what was right,” said Cornell President Martha E. Pollack. “While the nation mourns her passing, we can find solace in the indelible imprint that she leaves on American society and on the lives of each of us who found inspiration from her actions and who will carry her spirit with us long into the future.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born Joan Ruth Bader on March 15, 1933 in New York City to Celia and Nathan Bader. She grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn and graduated from James Madison High School in 1950.

Her mother Celia died of cancer the day before Ruth’s high school graduation and Ruth missed the ceremony. Years earlier, when Ruth was a toddler, her older sister Marylin observed that Ruth was always kicking. Thus, Marylin had given Ruth her lifelong nickname: “Kiki.” Marylin died at age 6 of meningitis.

Bader Ginsburg’s undergraduate education at Cornell from 1950-54 served as a strong foundation for her subsequent legal education and notable career.

In public talks, the associate justice credited two influential Cornell professors: Robert Cushman, professor of government, and Vladimir Nabokov, then a professor of European literature.

Noted for her precisely worded decisions on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg acknowledged Nabokov’s influence on her own writing. “He was a man in love with the sound of words,” she once said, as he taught her the importance of choosing the correct word and word order.

Nabokov’s first languages were French and Russian; English was his third. “He spoke about what he liked in the English language,” she said once in a talk. “If a speaker wants to say ‘white horse,’ you say ‘white horse’ in the English language.

“You see the white before horse,” she said, “so when you get to the horse, it is already white. In French you say, ‘cheval blanc,’ but you think brown horse first and you have to convert it.”

Joan Ruth Bader majored in government in the College of Arts and Sciences. As an undergraduate, she worked for Cushman as a researcher. He had gained fame as a legal scholar with the influential textbook, “Leading Constitutional Decisions” – a book taught nationally for a quarter century.

Cushman’s influence was equally strong. In the 2016 book, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: My Own Words,” co-authors Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams describe how the early 1950s kindled Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s (R-Wisconsin) rampant communist fearmongering.

Ginsburg tracked entertainment industry blacklists for Cushman during the McCarthy era, and she cited Cushman for elevating her own awareness of the Constitution and prompting her to apply to law school.

Before that, Ginsburg said, “I didn’t want to think about these things; I really just wanted to get good grades and become successful – but [Cushman] was both a teacher and consciousness raiser.”

In the fall semester of her senior year, Bader provided a glimpse into her thought processes.

Cornell law students once wrote a letter to the Cornell Daily Sun on the topic of wiretapping, suggesting that tapping telephones without warrants was expedient. Ginsburg responded in a Nov. 30, 1953 Cornell Daily Sun letter of her own.

“Wiretapping may save the government investigators a good deal of time and effort by making it unnecessary to seek other sources of proof,” Bader wrote. “But even if the situation today demands increased vigilance on the part of the government, restraints on individual rights in the field of individual privacy, morality and conscience can be a cure worse than the disease …”

She continued: “The … proposal [seems] to be outweighed by the general harm it may well do.”

Over the last six decades, Ginsburg returned to Cornell for lectures and special events. In October 2003, Ginsburg introduced Jeffrey S. Lehman as the university’s 11th president at his inaugural ceremony. She praised Cornell and each of its presidents for the school’s post-Civil War vision of equality in education.

She ended the Barton Hall speech by quoting an 1867 letter from Ezra Cornell to his granddaughter Eunice: “I want to have girls educated in the University, as well as boys so that they have the same opportunity to become wise and useful to society that the boys have.”

Said Ginsburg: “I didn’t know of that letter when I attended Cornell. I would have treasured it then; I treasure it now.”

Life at Cornell
At crowded dances and social gatherings of freshman orientation week for the new class of 1954, “Kiki” Bader stood out, residing in Clara Dickson Hall, the late David Behrens ’54 wrote in a 1993 Newsday feature story.

The dormitory phone never stopped ringing, recalled the late Anita Zicht Fial ’54, who was among the future justice’s close circle of Clara Dickson Hall friends. “It just rang off the hook the whole year, for all of us and for Kiki particularly,” she told Behrens.

An early fall semester blind double date was arranged by the roommate of Martin Ginsburg ’53. The roommate, who was dating a dormitory neighbor of Bader, did not have a car. The roommate persuaded the gregarious Ginsburg – who owned a gray Chevrolet – to drive the foursome to the dance.

“We met as undergraduates at Cornell University on a blind date in 1950 … The truth is, it was a blind date only on Ruth’s side. I cheated. I asked a classmate to point her out in advance,” said Martin Ginsburg in introductory remarks before a Bader Ginsburg lecture.

“’Oh, she’s really cute,’ I perceptively noticed, and then after a couple of evenings out, I added, ‘And… she’s really, really smart.’ And, of course, I was right on both counts,” he said.

At the time, men and women lived in separate campus buildings. Men had more freedom to move about campus at all hours. Cornell women had strict curfews.

Bader participated in the Women’s Self Governance Association, a student government system within residence life. But it would not be until the late 1960s that women attained equal status to men in Cornell’s residence halls.

After graduating from Cornell near the top of her class, Bader married Ginsburg – and followed him to Harvard Law School, becoming one of nine women there in a class of 500. After her husband graduated, joining a law firm in New York City, Bader Ginsburg finished her final year of law school in 1959 at Columbia University.

‘The Notorious R.B.G.’
In the 2013 landmark Supreme Court case, Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529, the court struck down two key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, in a 5-4 decision. Ginsburg wrote the dissenting opinion.

New York University law student Shana Knizhnik was dismayed by the decision, but heartened by Ginsburg’s dissent. Knizhnik created a Tumblr blog, naming it “Notorious R.B.G. –  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in all her glory.” The blog helped turn octogenarian Ginsburg into a cultural icon for youth and young adults, creating a modern hero.

Knizhnik and journalist Irin Carmon then turned the blog into a book, “The Notorious R.B.G.” that landed on the New York Times bestseller list, spawning T-shirt sales and other sundries, including a “dissent” jabot sold by Banana Republic that replicates Ginsburg’s lace ruffles adorning her judicial robes.

By 2018, the  associate justice’s life story was turned into a major motion picture, “On the Basis of Sex,” with Felicity Jones portraying Ginsburg as a young lawyer.

On the lighter side, Ginsburg has been portrayed by Kate McKinnon on “Saturday Night Live,” and in 2019 the justice even invited late-night television host Stephen Colbert to work out with her at the gym. He could not keep up.

Justice Ginsburg’s cultural popularity never subsided. At the Cornell Reunion in June 2019, Ginsburg surprised Cornelliana Night with a video appearance at her own 65th Reunion before a packed Bailey Hall. When the name “Ruth Bader Ginsburg” lit the screen, the alumni crowd instantly roared. And after she greeted her fellow Cornellians with well wishes, the audience erupted, led by vigorous cheers from the younger Reunion classes: “R-B-G! R-B-G! R-B-G! R-B-G!”

Martin Ginsburg predeceased her in 2010. She is survived by her daughter Jane Ginsburg, a professor of law at Columbia University, and son James Ginsburg, a music executive.


Source: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 dies | Cornell Chronicle

Nicholas Blake: The Beast Must Die

Wow. What a stunner. Blake (aka Cecil Day Lewis) messes with the reader’s mind literally from page 1, and being fully aware of the fact still doesn’t mean you’ll be up to what he is doing — or at least not all of it.  Even to begin talking about the plot would mean giving away half  the twists, so let’s just say it concerns a writer’s search for the reckless driver who mowed down his little son a few months earlier, as well as a family dominated by a bullying patriarch (and his equally bullying mother).  And from outright suggestions of lunacy to characters deliberately disguising their identities — or their innermost nature and / or intentions — to a myriad other ways in which Blake indulges in his cat-and-mouse game with the reader’s mind (authorial / narrative perspective, sequencing — the whole kit and caboodle), this is one big screwed-up joy ride … for those of us who like this sort of thing every so often, that is.

Side note 1: If you’ve read any of Blake’s other Nigel Strangeways books before (particularly any of the early ones), forget everything you’ve seen there.  Even though this book features both the Strangeways couple (Nick and Georgina) and Inspector Blunt, it is anything but a typical entry in the series (and all the better for it).

Side note 2: If you are interested in sailing, you may particularly enjoy this story.  It also probably helps to be familiar with the lingo  — which I am not, but I could follow along nevertheless, and during the one crucial scene set on a boat, I was just too glued to my speakers to pause listening in order to embark on an online search for the meaning of individual terms.


Reblogged from: lithub.com/a-new-voyeuristic-edition-of-pride-and-prejudice-reproduces-the-characters-letters-to-each-other/


A new edition of Pride and Prejudice reproduces the characters’ letters to each other.

Corinne Segal

September 2, 2020, 3:45pm

In a Jane Austen novel, the drama—confessions of love, pleas for help, realizations that your cousin is a jackass—is all in the letters. So it feels particularly fitting that Chronicle Books is releasing an edition of Pride and Prejudice that includes physical replicas of the letters its characters exchange, which provide some of the richest and most surprising revelations in the book.

Set decorator and writer Barbara Heller designed the edition, which contains reproductions of 19 letters in the style of the era down to details like the folding style, wax seal, and postmaster’s stamps. The letters appear in pockets throughout the book. Reading them feels like a somewhat voyeuristic exercise, like looking over a character’s shoulder as they try to figure out how to gossip about each other without, you know, being too obvious about it. (Except for Lydia, who everyone, without exception, agrees is the worst.)

The edition will be published by Chronicle Books this month.

Brontë Parsonage Museum Fund Raising Appeal

From Mike Finn — Please read!

Mike Finn's Fiction

The future of the Brontë Parsonage Museum is at risk. The Brontë Society, who run the museum at Haworth, say that the COVID-19 lockdown closures have produced an estimated loss of £500,000. After receiving money from Arts Council England’s Emergency Response fund, the end-of-year deficit will be £100,000, placing the future of the Museum at risk.

The Brontë Parsonage Museum offers visitors a unique view of the environment the Brontës lived and wrote in and provides a focus for continuing to study and research their lives and work.

The Brontë Society has launched a JustGiving page to raise funds. Visit it if you’d like to help keep this piece of history available to everyone.

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To my new followers …

I see I’ve picked up a number of new followers since I started sprucing up this blog last month: First of all: Welcome!

Up until mid-July 2020, this used to be my backup blog for my online activity, most of which primarily happened on a book blogging site called BookLikes.  That website, alas, took a nosedive in summer, as a result of being strangled by thousands of unchecked spam accounts and a number of other problems never addressed by the owners.  So, as I said in my final post on BookLikes (mirrored here on WordPress), this is now going to be my main blogging site.

My book catalogue lives on Librarything, where I have since made it searchable for everyone as a TinyCat library — do feel free to browse.  (It’s strictly a personal library, so there’s no option to “check out” or “borrow” books.)  My library chiefly consists of mysteries and crime fiction, classics, historical fiction, LitFic, and assorted nonfiction; with some speculative fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, dystopia, etc.) and horror (mostly of the gothic variety) sprinkled in here and there.

In the near future, the posts / notifications you’ll see coming from this blog will basically be falling into one of two categories:

(1) Cleaning up old blog posts mirrored here but originating from BookLikes.  Due to the fact that the two sites’ blog settings are not identical, and not all formatting and other HTML / CSS of the individual posts did transfer to WordPress as designed — also, BookLikes is “dead” for purposes of image hosting — I’ll have to clean up the posts backed up here: Probably not all of them, but at least some, to actually make them presentable.  As WP insists on sending out notifications even for posts dating from the past, you may be seeing notifications for book reviews and other posts that, upon closer inspection, actually date from several months or even years ago.   All I’m going to say about that for the moment is, “as you were” … don’t mind me, I’m just cleaning house over here.  Once the house cleaning is over and done with, this blog is hopefully going to have a directory sorting blog posts not only by date and category (as currently already available), but also by associated authors and artists … or at least, that’s the plan. — My reading projects (both ongoing and completed) can be found in the side bar to the right.

(2) Reading game-related posts, most notably in September and October, “Halloween Book Bingo” posts.  Reading games were a thing that the BookLikes community enjoyed a lot, and we’ve found a place and a method where / how to continue those despite the BL meltdown.  Halloween Bingo is our signature game and is being played for the fifth year in a row in 2020: It works basically just like an ordinary bingo game, except that each square on the bingo card is associated with a Halloween-ish theme / reading prompt, and you can only count a given square towards a bingo if it’s both been called and you have finished a book answering to that reading prompt.  — If you want to follow the progress of my game, you can do so HERE (my game preparation post with my lists of book options for the squares on my card can be found HERE).  The guy in the furry black tuxedo who is providing my bingo markers, incidentally, is called Charlie; he and his tabby brother / litter mate Sunny have been sharing my home and lighting up my life for almost exactly two years now, which corresponds to a little over half their lives.

If you go back through my blog, you’ll also come across blog posts associated with other reading games (all summarized as projects in the sidebar to the right), such as Festive Tasks, BL-opoly, and Snakes & Ladders.  (Most of the “internal” links in those summary project posts / pages are still for my original BookLikes posts; replacing those by the corresponding WordPress links is going to be part of the final touches of my houseblog cleaning operation.

Again, welcome to my blog, and please don’t hesitate to share your views in the comments!

BookLikes (and Legimi), is this really all you’ve got?

The site is live and running again. No other features are planned in the nearest future. The performance will be looked into depending on the problems and the availability of resources. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Comment on BookLikes’ Facebook page, last night (July 13, 2020).

Sorry, but that just isn’t good enough.

Not any more.  Not by a long shot.

It’s not about “new” features.  It’s about fixing problems that have existed for years — in fact, ever since Legimi acquired BookLikes four years ago –, that have grown progressively worse over the course of time, and that have been brought to the attention of BL management time and again, always (as we all know) to no avail whatsoever.

A serious commitment to fix those problems would require immediate action: no ifs or buts.  Not “depending on the problems and the availability of resources.”  Not just “looking into” the performance of the site.

Not just a canned response that couldn’t possibly say “we really don’t care” any clearer if it had shouted as much in neon letters a foot high or higher.


After last night’s statement on behalf of BookLikes, I won’t create any content here anymore.  In fact, if that statement had been posted about 45 minutes or an hour earlier, I wouldn’t even have created the new post(s) I did still create last night.  I will instead continue to do what I already started doing when BL crashed for several days back in January of this year; namely, back up and salvage all that content of my BL account that isn’t already backed up elsewhere anyway (such as, fortunately, most of my blog posts, my library and most of my book-related data).

To those who want to stay in touch, as of now you can chiefly find me here:

WordPress: This is where I will continue posting my reviews and other blog posts.  In the past, my WP blog has been primarily — though not exclusively — my back up site for BookLikes posts, so it will take some tender love and care to be made truly presentable, but some projects are already under way; and other than salvaging my BL content, that will be my focus over the rest of the summer.

Librarything: Far and away the best online library system; you can really tell that the site was created by people who are librarians (and techies) first and foremost.  LT’s book database — and librarian / editing features — were superior to those of BookLikes by a magnitude of several galaxies even at the best of times: I’ve been willing to put up with the standard that BL had to offer for the sake of its blogging features and, most importantly of course, the BL community, but … no longer so.  There is no question that LT’s social / communication features are unwieldy and in need of a serious overhaul.  And no, I am not entirely comfortable with the fact that Amazon holds an indirect minority ownership interest in LT, which it very likely could increase to direct / sole or majority ownership at any time if it so chose.  But at least LT (unlike BookLikes) lets you export your book data — and I am not planning to post any reviews there –, so if it ever comes to that point, it will be easy enough to pull out.  And its social features are “learnable” and, like everything else, get easier to manage with increased use.

Goodreads: I left GR behind as my main book site back in 2013 and have no intention of reversing that decision.  However, I understand that not all of my friends from the BookLikes community feel comfortable creating a blog elsewhere or navigating Librarything, and at this point many have already made the move to the Outpost and / or (Mostly) Dead Writers Society groups on GR.  So to the extent that discussions and community activities are hosted there, I’ll participate.

Twitter: This is not an account I use to actively participate in any discussions, at least not outside the rare book-related convo or other; but I can be reached by PM there if necessary.  If you do have a blog or a Librarything or a Goodreads account, though, those are the paths of communication that I prefer.


Buddy Reads
There are two buddy reads to which I had been looking forward here on BookLikes in the near future.

For Hannah Arendt’s The Origin of Totalitarianism, BT has already created a thread in the Outpost group. (@ Mark, I hope you’ve found us there!)  As she said in her first post, please join us — everybody is welcome!

As for the planned second French buddy read (and possible “buddy watch” of the TV adaptation of the Nicholas Le Floch novels), @ Tannat and @ Onnurtilraun, please let me know your preferred venue!  You can comment on this post — I’ll still be around for a while, so there is every chance I’ll see it — or reach me on any of the above-mentioned sites.  (Tannat, I know you’re on GR, LT and WP … not sure about Onnurtilraun, though?)


Like so many others who have posted something similar in the past couple of days and weeks, it breaks my heart to be making this decision.  The BookLikes community is, without question or comparison, far and away the best book community I’ve ever belonged to.  The basic setup of BookLikes — a blogging community with an integrated book database — is, as such, unique in the online world.  But while I’ve always said that I’ll be here until the end, I feel the end has now indeed come — not because the community has given up on the site, but because its owners and administrators have.  Their statement on Facebook couldn’t possibly make that any clearer.  So:


(You didn’t really think I could do this without a cat meme, did you?)



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