S. written by Doug Dorst and concept by J.J. Abrams
"One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.
A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.
THE BOOK: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V. M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.
THE WRITER: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumours that swirl around him.
THE READERS: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.”
Confession: I read S. for the concept. I mean the idea behind the design and the intertwining stories of Eric, Jessica, S, and Straka is genius and I applaud J.J. Abrams for it. The postcards, newspapers, letters, maps drawn on napkins, just wow. But there’s so much more to this novel.
Doug Dorst is the real talent behind S. and I found myself getting lost in his words. Certain quotes hit me like a ton of bricks, making me dissect each page with the intensity of a copy editor. The plot in general didn’t make much sense to me and…
hover for spoilers.
Also, Eric and Jennifer’s assumptions were a little unbelievable and I was convinced that they were just guessing. But I do have a nagging feeling that there is so much I missed and that I haven’t even scratched the surface of the mystery. I think S. is the kind of novel you have to read three times to fully understand: once for the experience, twice for the story, and a third for the details (kind of like Lost - damn you JJ Abrams).
Overall, you have to read it. You have no choice. Read it for the experience, for all the little odds and ends tucked away in the pages, for the writing in the margins, for the amazing design (there were legitimate ink stains on the pages, also it smells like a library book and I don’t know how). But watch out: aesthetic isn’t everything and the writing will blow your mind.
"You can’t ever know in advance. Big decisions require faith."
"The feeling, for those seconds, is glorious-it reminds him that he is human, that he is so insignificant as to be utterly free, and he is being guided along gracefully, lovingly, by the hand of Nature-and it frees him,however transiently, from all worry and fear and fury and grief. ‘I enjoyed that,’ he says aloud, as much to the stars as to the rower."
"You’re born a certain way. Later you get to decide how much you want to fight/change that."
"The creation of art requires a descent into the dark."
Happy birthday to Jayne Anne Phillips, who was born in Buckhannon, West Virginia, on this day in 1952.
“Literature can teach us how to live before we live, and how to die before we die. I believe that writing is practice for death, and for every (other) transformation human beings encounter.”
― Jayne Anne Phillips
Submitted by Hillary
-via The Reading Room
“Many of the religious apologists out there are not stupid people, they are often brilliant. People working in the field of theology and philosophy smart people everywhere. What they are those religious apologists are smart poeple who can build these amazingly intricate rationalizations for whatever weird practice they favor. Whether it’s ritual cannibalism, or praying to spirits, or treating women as chattel. And they always building this on terrible shaky foundation of false premises.”
On his popular science blog, Pharyngula, PZ Myers has entertained millions of readers with his infectious love of evolutionary science and his equally infectious disdain for creationism, biblical literalism, intelligent design theory, and other products of godly illogic. This funny and fearless book collects and expands on some of his most popular writings, giving the religious fanaticism of our times the gleeful disrespect it deserves by skewering the apocalyptic fantasies, magical thinking, hypocrisies, and pseudoscientific theories advanced by religious fundamentalists of all stripes. Forceful and articulate, scathing and funny, The Happy Atheist is a reaffirmation of the revelatory power of humor and the truth-revealing powers of science and reason. Read an excerpt here: http://ow.ly/z1Avd
Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on this day in 1817.
"I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers. A man thinking or working is always alone, let him be where he will."
—from WALDEN (1854)
Alas, the summer’s energy wanes quickly,
A moment and it is gone. And no longer
May we make the necessary arrangements, simple as they are.
2014 is halfway over. Sadie Stein on putting into words the particular melancholy of the midpoint.
Season 2 episode 9. Right at the end when Tastee gives heroin to Nicky, Poussey is reading ‘State of Wonder’ by Anne Patchet.
It’s about a female scientist who looks for her former mentor, a doctor who has gone rogue while doing research in a remote part of the Amazon. Like a genderswapped ‘Heart of Darkness’.
Thank you so much for this submission. It’s a really good one! Here’s the scene:
"My own first love was biology. I spent a great part of my adolescence in the Natural History museum in London (and I still go to the Botanic Garden almost every day, and to the Zoo every Monday). The sense of diversity—of the wonder of innumerable forms of life—has always thrilled me beyond anything else."
“Women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves.”
― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
An illuminating portrait of Anne Morrow Lindbergh—loyal wife, devoted mother, pioneering aviator, and critically acclaimed author of the bestselling Gift from the Sea. Anne Morrow Lindbergh has been one of the most admired women and most popular writers of our time. Her Gift from the Sea is a perennial favorite. But the woman behind the public person has remained largely unknown. Drawing on five years of exclusive interviews with Anne Morrow Lindbergh as well as countless diaries, letters, and other documents, Susan Hertog now gives us the woman whose triumphs, struggles and elegant perseverance riveted the public for much of the twentieth century. Read an excerpt here: http://ow.ly/yiACs
“But by the time that I had nothing left, I myself was the lightest thing of all for fate to get rid of.”
― Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa