Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy the last weekend at the beach and your last chance to wear white, but don’t forget to take a minute to think about what today means. Plenty of great reading options: Steinbeck, Zola, Sinclair’s The Jungle, and James’s The Princess Casamassina. For something a little different, check out Ernest Poole’s The Harbor. Poole, the first winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, writes about the plight of Billy, an aspiring writer torn between sympathy for the working class with an appreciation of middle class social mobility. It’s an incendiary documentation of labor relations by an all-too-underappreciated figure in 20th-century American fiction.
“In one of these houses, Tukten said, he would be staying with his father’s sister. Accosting inhabitants, calling his name, I walk my bicycle round and round the square, under the huge painted eyes, the nose like a great question mark, the wind-snapped pennants—Tukten? Tukten? But there is no answer, no one knows of Tukten Sherpa. Under the Bodhi Eye, I get on my bicycle again and return along gray December roads to Kathmandu.”
Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard
Friday Final Lines | Every Friday, we offer the closing lines of a Penguin Classic to finish up the workweek.
(courtesy of @pixel_the_frenchie)
Part 1 of a series on Soseki’s Kokoro. Click through for more!
This is great! We always love to see Classics in graphic form. If you’re so enticed, check out Meredith McKinney’s beautiful translation of Kokoro as well, and then move on to our other favorite Soseki work, Kusamakura.
“I am forced into speech because men of science have refused to follow my advice without knowing why. It is altogether against my will that I tell my reasons for opposing this contemplated invasion of the antarctic—with its vast fossil-hunt and its wholesale boring and melting of the ancient ice-cap—and I am the more reluctant because my warning may be in vain.”
H. P. Lovecraft, "At the Mountains of Madness"
Monday First Lines | Every Monday, we offer the opening sentences of a Penguin Classic to start the week.
Kids, I have started one thousand (1,000) letters to you, but
they all through no will of mine got to sounding so gloomy I
was afraid of boring the combined tripe out of you, so I
never sent them. Now, however, it seems just the ripe time to
pen these few poor scraps, for we are having what is known
as Alpine Giggle Week. Gerald left hastily for America to
catch what is doubtless a last glimpse of his dear old mother,
whose blood-pressure is so high there is snow on it; Sara is
in bed with a pretty attack of jaundice, and rheumatism, than
which nothing makes you feel heartier; the Russian trained
nurse who takes care of little Patrick has gone completely
Muscovite and after a week of strained silence has shut
herself in her room and cannot be coaxed out; the pet
monkey bit one of the townsfolk so badly that both bloodpoison
and a law suit set in; and I, in my role of the old
family friend always right there in time of trouble, fell off an
unnamed Alp, cracked my right knee-cap and ripped all the
ligaments free, and it will be many a bright September day
before I will be able to walk the length of the room. And
how are all of you?
So begins Parker’s letter, written from a mountaintop TB colony in Switzerland. It’s a delightful piece of Parker history and you can read the rest (plus a fantastic introduction by Marion Meade) for just $1.99!