If you like good writing so much, why don't you just MARRY it?

The first e-mail I ever got from my husband included an attachment: an essay he’d written on The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. We’d just met over dinner in the dining hall, and somehow the conversation had turned to this thing he’d written for a literature class class (of which he was clearly very proud, mainly because he’d managed to make a big joke out of the assignment while still demonstrating that he could write with intention and precision). I’d smiled and nodded (dude was bragging about his English paper) and quite possibly said something along the lines of “mmhm, I’d like to read that,” not thinking that he’d take me at my word. The e-mail arrived minutes after I’d returned to my room, subject: “I hope you’re impressed.” Body text read “With the essay.” File attached.

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I don't want the Russian Doll takes to stop

I’m not going to spoil any of the fun surprises this show has in store for you - really! But even if I told you how it ended, you’d still love watching it from start to finish. As soon as I saw Russian Doll’s opening shot of Natasha Lyonne staring at herself in a mirror, I didn’t really care what was about to happen; I just wanted to watch her. I wanted (and always, still, want) to hear and see a story about someone like Nadia, but not just about her. It’s not enough to create a story about a woman without also creating within it an endless fascination that goes beyond sex appeal or a desire to “fix” her. We’re not going to figure her out by watching her for eight episodes; that’s not how people work. But we’re going to dive in because even if we never get to the bottom, the experience will be worth it.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Vol. V: Lightness and its meaning

The world is an objectively heavy place to live in right now, and this has paradoxically become almost routine. As Sarah Koenig put it in the fifth episode of Serial’s third season, “‘what are you going to do’ starts to feel like an answer, rather than an urgent question.” But even when you do pose it as a question…what are you going to do? If you are so weighed down by the heaviness of the world at every moment, how will you ever see the ways in which you can engage with it? Italo Calvino means, I think, for us to stop thinking of literature as an escape or a frivolous pursuit and to reframe it, instead, as an engine for creative and flexible thinking.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Volume II: Italian grammar

 Nella mia casa paterna, quand’ero ragazzina, a tavola, se io o i miei fratelli rovesciavamo il bicchiere sulla tovaglia, o lasciavamo cadere un coltello, la voce di mio padre tuonava: “Non fate malagrazie!”

In my father’s house, when I was a little girl, at the table, if I or my brothers upset our glass on the tablecloth, or if we let a knife fall, the voice of my father would thunder: “Non fate malagrazie!”

One of the reasons I love teaching Natalia Ginzburg to non-native Italian speakers (and possibly the reason I so appreciate it as a non-native Italian speaker) is that if we use what we know of Italian, if we forget what we don’t know and focus on the fundamentals, we see the intentionality of this prose at work.

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Go ahead and love something an embarrassing amount, Volume I: the 'Marseillaise' scene in casablanca

There are things that bother me now about Casablanca that didn’t bother me when I was ten, but by god, I will sit through the entire movie just to feel the tears well up when Victor Laszlo stands up in front of the band and cries, “play La Marseillaise!  Play it!” I got the chills just typing that sentence and reliving that sequence in my head, in fact.

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