weekend reading


In The Rabbit Slaughter, Vincent Crapanzano details numerous first hand accounts of “sacred sacrifices.” What separates the sacred from the profane? What circumstances or characteristics create an authentically sacred space? Where is the line that divides sacrifice from slaughter? No human sacrifices are discussed in this essay, but many animals meet their sacred/profane end. This essay is an excerpt from Crapanzano’s forthcoming memoir, Recapitultionsreprinted in Guernica. 

Against Contingent Love,  by Kezia Kamenetz, is a short essay about the conditions people inevitably put on “unconditional” love in all types of relationships, and how those conditions and restrictions cause insecurity and self-doubt in all of us. It’s from Neutrons/Protons, which is a print and online journal from New Orleans that I recently discovered!

In Peridot and Moldavite gemologist and jewelry maker Liz Phillips talks about the extraterrestrial properties of the gemstones Peridot and Moldavite, and the myths and mysticism that otherworldly entities create. From Covered with Fur. 

The Firebird,  by Saikat Majumdar is an excerpt from his forthcoming novel of the same title. It’s told from the perspective of a young boy whose mother is a theater actress. It explores the feelings of distant reverence he has for his mother, and alludes to the complicated reasons that cause his mother’s refusal to allow him to act in the theater, though he wants it so badly. From The Kenyon Review. 

Sean Carman is In Conversation with Laura van den Berg in the latest issue of Midnight Breakfast. They discuss her debut (kinda post-apocalyptic but not really post-apocalyptic) novel Find Meas well as topics such as: the difference in the process of writing a novel versus short stories, the inherent autobiographical nature of fiction writing, and the human preoccupation with “the end times.”

Because Kim Gordon was at Bookpeople last night, and because she is amazing, and because she has truly great taste in books, here’s Kim Gordon: By the Book  from The New York Times. 

The title short story from Madeline Ffitch’s debut collection, Valparaiso, Round the Horn, is a love story that really has nothing to do with love. Here. Here’s the opening sentence– “For every construction worker who is a man who pees next to the work area of a construction worker who is a woman and when the woman says “please don’t do that. Instead, why don’t you pee in the porta-pottie?” and the man says “if you don’t like it don’t work on a f***ing construction site,” and the woman complains to her supervisor, who is also a woman, who says “it sounds like maybe you weren’t cut out for this kind of work,” there is also a construction worker who is a man who is kind of private about where he pees, and would really prefer to pee in the porta-pottie, and who definitely doesn’t want to pee on or near a female coworker, although not out of sensitivity so much as out of being sort of conservative about peeing, and such a man was Abie Carlebach.” This is on Barrelhouse‘s website in promotion of Barrelhouse Presents, where Ffitch will be reading tomorrow night (in Washington, D.C. even though I’m in Austin and so I obviously can’t go.)

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