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Lit Links for the Work Week

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Photograph of Joan Crawford from George Grantham Bain Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Last Friday, Julio Cortazar’s groundbreaking novel Hopscotch turned 50. For a slightly late Monday morning celebration, Cortazar fans should head to the Los Angeles Review of Books to read Ted Gioia’s essay “How to Win at Hopscotch.” Of course, if you’ve only read Cortazar’s short story collection you received for Christmas two years ago, you might want to join me in rifling through the Library’s Cortazar materials, including a recording by the Hispanic Division of Cortazar reading his own work. (More than 160 items! This could take awhile…)

Speaking of short stories, Ramona Ausubel’s A Guide to Being Born has been getting plenty of critical acclaim since its release earlier in the year. If you haven’t fallen head over heels with the book yet, read The Rumpus’s new interview with Ausubel. Even on a Monday, it’s hard not to feel moved by lines like “we’re all living lives full of unimaginable beauty and sadness and strangeness.”

If, like the staff at the Poetry and Literature Center, you’re looking forward to a long Fourth of July weekend, might we suggest Alan Cheuse’s “5 Books of Poetry to Get You Through the Summer” via National Public Radio. The list even includes two former Poets Laureate: Robert Pinsky and W. S. Merwin! Follow the links to listen to their readings here at the Library and get a little taste of their poetry.

Or you could go a different route: The Paris Review Daily presents Joan Crawford reading Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Dirge Without Music.” Is anyone not a little terrified by the time she gets to the line “but the best is lost”? I’ll leave you with decidedly less frightening readings of Millay by Alicia Ostriker and Claudia Emerson.