St. John's my middle name. The books go under M.
NYT: What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
TEJU COLE: I have not read most of the big 19th — century novels that people consider “essential,” nor most of the 20th-century ones for that matter. But this does not embarrass me. There are many films to see, many friends to visit, many walks to take, many playlists to assemble and many favorite books to reread. Life’s too short for anxious score-keeping. Also, my grandmother is illiterate, and she’s one of the best people I know. Reading is a deep personal consolation for me, but other things console, too. Teju Cole, "Teju Cole: By The Book" A New York Times Q&A, March 6, 2014 (via jalylah)
I have a new piece up on The Millions today, the first full-length piece I’ve written for them since I took a break to focus on edits six months ago. I wrote about the Canadian poet Elizabeth Smart’s troubling but magnificent work of prose poetry, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept.
I’ve never encountered a book title that I like more than that. It’s unwieldy, but what rhythm. I just want to repeat it over and over. The book itself is utterly captivating and original.
Yesterday was long and it proved impossible to get to India House until the Cafe Society event had been running for nearly an hour, but I arrived in time for the trilingual cabaret singer, who seemed, like the room itself, to have teleported in from a different and somewhat more elegant era. I thought of taking a photo, but I’ve long since realized that you can be in a given moment or you can photograph it, but not both at the same time, and the moment was lovely. He finished singing and floated away in his impeccable suit, and I swam into the crowd in search of conversation.
Later, walking in circles trying to find the subway station in the Financial District’s narrow streets, which were laid out in the 1600s and connect at strange angles. It’s hard to imagine a neighbourhood with a better-developed security apparatus but there’s nonetheless a sense of mystery here, dark alleys and cobblestones, mysterious doors, a weight of history. Impossible to come down here without thinking of The Cruise, still my favorite documentary short of all time, the shots of the narrow corridor of sky between towers as the tour guide ushers his charges into this neighborhood, the oldest part of the city: “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to New Amsterdam.”
“You dislike me.”
“When did you think I had the time to do that?”
For people think of everything, they imagine every sort of hypothesis, apart from one—that one works and that one takes no notice of them. The Allure of Chanel, by Paul Morand.