Readersforum's Blog

March 21, 2013

Waving to Virginia: Patti Smith Reads Woolf

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , , , — Henry Greeff @ 11:28 am

pattismithBy Maria Popova

“One man will single me out and will tell me what he has told no other person.”

What could be more soul-quenching than two grand dames of creative culture — Virginia Woolf and Patti Smith — coming together? In this short footage recorded at the opening of a 2008 Paris exhibition of four decades’ worth of Smith’s art and photography, she celebrates Woolf’s 1931 novel The Waves (public library; public domain) with a mesmerizing dramatic performance.

In fact, Smith’s choice of narrative is more conceptual — perhaps an allusion to her 1979 album Wave — than an actual “reading”: Only a single sentence comes from Woolf’s original text, and the rest is a kind of free improvisation in a creative homage to the beloved author. Enjoy:

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September 24, 2012

20 Famous Authors’ Adorable School Photos

By Emily Temple

It’s back to school season, which means new books, new classes and yes, new photos, yearbook and otherwise. But don’t worry — your favorite authors had to go through it too. To celebrate the new season of scholarship, we’ve collected a few pictures of some of our favorite authors’ school photos, ranging from proud snapshots of the first day of kindergarten to writers-to-be goofing off behind a desk to posed high school graduation photos. Check out our collection, find out which author was voted class clown, and ruminate on what your own education might lead to after the jump.

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May 11, 2012

Advice Columns By Famous Authors We’d Love to Read

Gertrude Stein

By Emily Temple.

This week, we’re diving into Augusten Burroughs’ newest book, a stellar series of essays meant to be a cheeky version of a self-help book, blessed with the unwieldy but hilarious title This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike. While we’re thankful for Burroughs’ ”instruction manual for living,” it got us thinking about the other authors we wish would give us some advice — whether in self-help book or advice column form — and what they might write about.

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February 22, 2012

Famous Authors’ Unlikely Obsessions

Martin Amis

By Emily Temple

We tend to put our favorite authors on a pedestal, and in some ways when we do that, we turn them into characters themselves, figures whose every action, whim, and interest should fit into the tidy package of our understanding. However, authors are real people (thank goodness) and sometimes they can surprise us by being into something that seems a little off-kilter for them — or just in general. With all the recent hubbub on book blogs about Martin Amis’s resurfaced video game guide (so it’s okay to write about Space Invaders, but penning children’s books is totally lame?), we got to thinking about other authors and their obsessions, from the literary to the musical to the, um, extra-terrestrial.

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April 26, 2011

The 2011 TIME 100

Meet the most influential people in the world. They are artists and activists, reformers and researchers, heads of state and captains of industry. Their ideas spark dialogue and dissent and sometimes even revolution. Welcome to this year’s TIME 100.

Franzen, Jennifer Egan and Patti Smith are the writers on Time’s list of the 100 most influential people of the year.

                                                                                                                                           …read more

February 11, 2011

Literary Outlaw

The troubled life of Queer writer William S. Burroughs, one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, is explored in an illuminating new documentary.

By Advocate Contributors

The cult author of such seminal works as Junkie and Naked Lunch is the subject of director Yony Leyser’s William S. Burroughs: A Man Within, a probing look at the writer who lived to tell about the extremes of drug and queer cultures. Leyser incorporates rare archival photos and interviews as well as new ones with luminaries like punk poet–singer Patti Smith (who admits to borrowing lyrics from him) and director Gus Van Sant (who cast Burroughs in Drugstore Cowboy for authenticity).       …read more

November 18, 2010

National Book Award for Patti Smith

By JULIE BOSMAN

The rock musician Patti Smith won the National Book Award for nonfiction on Wednesday night for “Just Kids,” a sweetly evocative memoir of her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe and life in the bohemian New York of the 1960s and ’70s.

Accepting the award to applause and cheers, Ms. Smith — clearly the favorite of the night — choked up as she recalled her days as a clerk in the Scribner’s bookstore in Manhattan.

“I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf,” she said. “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”

….read more

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