Blurbed: What to Read, See and Do in December 2018

Welcome to Blurbed, a round-up of literary recommendations from the editors and contributors at the Columbia Journal! Each month, Blurbed features a curated list of things to read, events to attend and news from the Journal.

What to Read

“Secrets of the Magus,” The New Yorker
Earlier this month, magician Ricky Jay died. He’s the subject of one of the best New Yorker profiles I’ve read, originally appearing in the April 5, 1993 issue of the magazine. Mark Singer manages to capture the world he occupied unlike any other.

“In Lagos, Space for My Thoughts to Fly,” Guernica
A terrific essay on a city misunderstood.

“‘Emerging’ as a writer — After 40,” Longreads
As a writer, I can’t help but consider the career trajectory of other writers I encounter. There is a sort of brand either honed by the writer themselves or thrust upon them by others. A certain sort of these stories catch popular attention, but I thought this was a great look at a different, but equally important arc.

NPR’s Book Concierge
We all know the holiday season is a great time to catch up on some reading. If you’re looking to extend your reading list even further, check out the always great NPR guide for some options.

What to See & Do

December 7: Anne Carson: On Corners at NYPL
The NYPL is one of the great joys of New York. This month, you can hear the iconic Anne Carson give a lecture there entitled, “On Corners.” Presenting a range of texts and figures both classic and contemporary, Carson will touch on inspirations from Homer’s Odyssey, Aristotle, and Sophokles, to Samuel Beckett, Borges, James Turrell, and many more.—Vera Carothers, Community Outreach Board

December 7: Think Olio: What Does a Feminist City Look Like?
Think Olio is my favorite learning series in NYC and one of their upcoming events is all about considering the ways that cities not only hold gendered spaces, but function with gendered logic. Think Olio have invited Lauren Hudson who is currently a doctoral candidate in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center where she writes about anti-capitalist organizing among women in NYC to explore the difference between ‘feminine’ cities and ‘feminist’ cities. Yes please!—Katie Shepard, Community Outreach Board

December 13: After Hours: Excerpts
Catch some members of the Columbia Journal and Columbia University MFA community at a reading taking place at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn.

December 15: A Velocity of Being: Maria Popova and Guests
There’s a killer lineup of writers, scientists, musicians, etc. taking part in this event, and on a subject I love: letters to young readers on why they should keep at it.

Journal News

There’s still time to submit to our 2018 Winter Contest, with judges Jericho Brown, Lauren Wilkinson, and Alexander Chee! The deadline for submissions is December 15th. Visit the contest page for more information.

Words to Write By

“It’s about being willing to go in and prove yourself wrong, being willing to write something that shocks yourself or pokes fun at what you used to believe. If you go in too assured, too determined to write a certain outcome, you’re not leaving room for your own discoveries, and if you are not surprised by your own discoveries, if you’re not surprised as you are writing, there’s zero chance that the reader will be and they’re going to feel manipulated.”

Rebecca Makkai

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