Wandering Scribe

1,888 Flips | 7 Magazines | 433 Likes | 7 Following | 92 Followers | @wanderingscribe | lecturer,bibliophile, armchair tourist,photography enthusiast

The terrible 'what if': how OCD makes every day a matter of life or death

OCD is often called the 'doubting disease' because deep down, the sufferer knows the thoughts are irrational.<p>The first time I thought someone contaminated my food was at the Paramus Park mall food court when I was 12. As the employee handed me an extra gooey Cinnabon nestled in crinkly tissue, I …

Mental Health

The Brilliant Deep: The Illustrated Story of the Man Who Set Out to Save the World’s Coral Reefs with Hammer and Glue

A picture-book biography of an improbable, ingenious idea that became a model for hands-on resistance to the destruction of nature.<p><i>“Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity we once were?”</i> poet Marie Howe asked in her stunning contribution to <i>The Universe in Verse</i>. She imagined a time …

Books Born of Books

The 19th-century French author Marcel Schwob was a writer’s writer in the literal sense, seeking his material in literature and history.<p>By<p>Martin Riker<p>I<b>f the 19th-century</b> French writer Marcel Schwob (1867-1905) has not been well known outside of France, that may be because his ideas about literature …

Books

Be Still, Life: A Songlike Illustrated Invitation to Living with Presence

“Be still, life, be still at the break of dawn, and you’ll feel the sun’s light when you hear the morning’s song.”<p><i>“Life goes headlong,”</i> Emerson lamented in contemplating how to live with presence in a culture of busyness, offering the antidote to our civilizational haste: <i>“Now pause, now possession</i> …

Julián Is a Mermaid: A Tenderhearted Story of Identity, Belonging, and the Courage to Be Yourself

A watercolor serenade to the transformative power of unconditional love.<p><i>“To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight,”</i> E.E. Cummings offered in his advice to aspiring …

Walking the City with Jane: An Illustrated Celebration of Jane Jacobs and Her Legacy of Livable Cities

How a woman of great courage and great humanity changed the way we build cities, taught communities to stand up for themselves, and inspired generations to look up.<p><i>“Every walk is a sort of crusade,”</i> Henry David Thoreau proclaimed in his manifesto for the spiritual rewards of sauntering. But it was …

Why Frankenstein is the story that defines our fears

Frankenstein has done more than any other story to define the anxieties of modern life. But it’s what it tells us about compassion that we need now more than ever.<p><i>“It’s alive! It’s alive!! It’s alive!!! - Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)</i><p>One night during the strangely cool and wet summer of 1816, a …

Literature

Are We All Joyceans Here, Then?

“Are we all Joyceans here, then?” the young professor asked, poking his head into the classroom doorway.<p>We looked back at him uncertainly. Yes, we were all here for the <i>Ulysses</i> seminar that met at six thirty P.M. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But to call us “Joyceans” seemed like a stretch. …

Two Hundred Years of Blue

Cerulean splendor from Goethe, Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov, Rachel Carson, Toni Morrison, and other literary masters.<p>With Carl Sagan’s poetic <i>Pale Blue Dot</i> on my mind lately, I have found myself dwelling on the color blue and the way our planet’s elemental hue, the most symphonic of …

Literature

Create Dangerously: Albert Camus on the Artist as a Voice of Resistance and a Liberator of Society

“To create today is to create dangerously… The question, for all those who cannot live without art and what it signifies, is merely to find out how, among the police forces of so many ideologies (how many churches, what solitude!), the strange liberty of creation is possible.”<p><i>“Those who tell you</i> …

Literature

Pioneering Jamaican-American Illustrator and Designer Jacqueline Ayer’s Lovely Vintage Children’s Book About Loss, Hope, And Homecoming, Inspired by Thailand

“In a sunny, sleepy place halfway around the world in Siam, on the banks of a long brown river, there once lived a little boy whose name was Nu Dang.”<p>In the late 1950s, the Jamaican-American illustrator and designer <b>Jacqueline Ayer</b> (May 2, 1930–May 20, 2012) moved halfway around the world to …

Books

Three Balls of Wool: An Illustrated Celebration of Nonconformity and the Courage to Remake Society’s Givens

A poignant and hope-giving allegory based on the true story of a refugee family.<p>It may be an elemental property of human nature to fantasize about utopias — a fantasy all the more alluring the more dystopian one’s actual society is. But the inescapable fallacy of the fantasy is that while a utopia …

Sweaters

A Man and His Roti

A few years ago, I saw an ad on Pakistani TV that made me, and many others, cringe. In it, a little girl is shown kneading a little ball of dough and making a roti, and her mother announces, with a drum roll, to a jubilant family, “Choti ki pehli gol roti!” (“The little girl’s first round flat …

Flatbread

Writing and Alcohol: A Reckoning

In her new book, Leslie Jamison challenges the mythology and the mystique of literary drinking.<p>About two-thirds of the way through <i>The Recovering</i>, Leslie Jamison—newly sober for the second time—finally confronts the reality of winter in Iowa City. “For years,” she writes, “I’d felt personally …

Books

‘Messy attics of the mind’: what’s inside a writer’s notebook?

Scribbled observations, dinner party conversations, flashes of perception ... inspired by Henry James’s jottings, Paul Theroux, Susie Boyt and Amit Chaudhuri share their note-taking habits<p>The mystique of a writer’s notebook seems still to be with us in this digital age. Perhaps it’s because a …

Mark Twain

Jerome by Heart: A Tender Illustrated Celebration of Love Too Boundless for Labels to Contain

A bold and jubilant defense of the heart’s indomitable truth.<p>To love every fiber of another’s being with every fiber of your own is a rare, beautiful, and thoroughly disorienting experience — one which the term <i>in love</i> feels too small to hold. Its fact becomes a gravitational center of your …

Literature

Top 10 books based in Tangier

From William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch to Paul Bowles’s translations of Moroccan authors, here are the best novels set in the city<p>Mark Twain. Edith Wharton. Patricia Highsmith. The Beats. At one time or another, these literary figures passed through Tangier, and were inspired by the places they saw …

Top 10

The Weird Habits Of These Famous Writers Will Surprise You

If you have writer's block, maybe try wearing a hat like Dr. Seuss!<p><i>We've all wondered about the creative processes of exceptionally talented, successful writers. Well, as Ellen Weinstein reveals in her book,</i> Recipes for Good Luck, <i>many of them believed in superstitions and had quirky little rituals</i> …

Creature-Feeling as Secular Grace: On the Religious in J.M. Coetzee’s Fiction | Literature and Theology

In this article, I argue that the epiphanies in J.M. Coetzee’s fiction can be read as literary enactments of the ‘creature-feeling’, a feeling of …

The strange beauty of Greece’s weirdest town

Originally designed as a utopia by Mussolini’s architects, Lakki fell into ruin and few now know it exists. Alex Sakalis visits to find out why it deserves a second chance.<p>There is a town in Greece like no other.<p>Lakki, on the Dodecanese island of Leros, is unique. Its church, austere and …

Art Deco

The strange power of the ‘evil eye’

From the Eye of Horus to Gigi Hadid, ‘for thousands of years the eye has maintained its steady hold on the human imagination,’ writes Quinn Hargitai.<p>When it comes to warding off the mystic malevolent forces of the world, there is perhaps no charm more recognised or renowned than the ‘evil eye’. …

Ancient History

Literary Witches: An Illustrated Celebration of Trailblazing Women Writers Who Have Enchanted and Transformed the World

From Sappho to Toni Morrison, an homage to writers who have wielded the power of the mind in language with uncommon virtuosity.<p><i>“The absence of the witch does not invalidate the spell,”</i> Emily Dickinson wrote. So great writers bewitch us with their work long after they have absented themselves from …

Literature

Neither Victims Nor Executioners: Albert Camus on the Antidote to Violence

“If he who bases his hopes on human nature is a fool, he who gives up in the face of circumstances is a coward.”<p><i>“Progress is never permanent, will always be threatened, must be redoubled, restated and reimagined if it is to survive,”</i> Zadie Smith wrote in her spectacular essay on optimism and …

Bear and Wolf: A Tender Illustrated Fable of Walking Side by Side in Otherness

A watercolor serenade to kinship across difference in a shared world.<p>Otherness has always been how we define ourselves — by contrast and distinction from what is unlike us, we find out what we are like: As I have previously written, we are what remains after everything we are not. But otherness can …

Literature

Anger at a 'liberal elite' and an author in exile: Orhan Pamuk's Snow is eerily prescient

The future haunts this 2004 novel, told by a mysterious and playful narrator called Orhan<p>Snow opens with a man riding a bus to a city called Kars in a snowstorm. We are given a few quick details about the bus and the weather, are told “our traveller” is wearing a “thick charcoal coat” – and then, …

The Child Genius Poised to Become a Great Novelist—But Then She Disappeared

Barbara Newhall Follett published her first novel in 1927, at the age of 12. At 25, she went missing, never to be seen again.<p><i>“A small back door opened into the lovely woods at the back of the house. Quickly Eepersip made her way out into the open; and everything looked twice as lovely as before.</i> …

All Men, All the Time: A Former Literary Editor Remembers the World Before #MeToo

I was the world’s unlikeliest person to have a career in men’s magazines. In college, I was in thrall to the French feminist writer Hélène Cixous, and I was fascinated by issues of gender, identity, language, and power. But I loved American writers and writing, too, and magazines like <i>Esquire</i> and <i>GQ</i>, …

In Turn Each Woman Thrust Her Head

In the hot attic bedroom in Minneapolis, my twelve-year-old daughter is reading to me from the <i>Odyssey</i>. Curled in the center of the orange paisley chair, she conjures ship-smashing gales, feasts of roast lamb, a mouth full of salt. The words wash over me as I do leg lifts, building strength after …

We need to talk about erotic art

<b>(CNN) —</b> Twenty-nine years ago, a group of anonymous feminist artists known as the Guerrilla Girls unveiled a poster that read, "Do women have to be naked to get into the Met. Museum? Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female."<p>This week, …

Robert Mapplethorpe