1. 
Jeannine was pouring the steaming coffee with maddening exactitude. Mrs. Fitzgibbons lost patience with her. “That’s coffee, not nitroglycerin,” she said. “Pour it into the cup.”
—Raymond Kennedy, Ride a Cockhorse

The Classics and Coffee Club is back from a August break with an office favorite, the enticingly monstrous Frankie Fitzgibbons of Ride a Cockhorse.
As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

    Jeannine was pouring the steaming coffee with maddening exactitude. Mrs. Fitzgibbons lost patience with her. “That’s coffee, not nitroglycerin,” she said. “Pour it into the cup.”

    —Raymond Kennedy, Ride a Cockhorse

    The Classics and Coffee Club is back from a August break with an office favorite, the enticingly monstrous Frankie Fitzgibbons of Ride a Cockhorse.

    As always: If you have a photo of an NYRB Classic posed with a cup of coffee or tea, send it to this address and we’ll add it to the Classics and Coffee Club series. And let us know where you bought or borrowed the book from—we’d be glad to shout out places that stock NYRB Classics.

  2. 57thstreetbooks:

Yo Stoner fans, looky what’s about to drop from nyrbclassics!
Order yours here.

On sale tomorrow!

    57thstreetbooks:

    Yo Stoner fans, looky what’s about to drop from nyrbclassics!

    Order yours here.

    On sale tomorrow!

  3. “Now, once and for all, try to write down the meaning of life and then take a photocopy so you can use it again next time.” →

    —Tove Jansson, “Fireworks,” in Fair Play
    Read more here.

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    There are a lot of exciting things going on all around the world to celebrate the 100th anniversary year of Tove Jansson’s birth. For a full calendar of events, exhibitions, and readings, visit the official Tove 100 website right here. To help you scratch the surface, here are a few current and upcoming events:

    Happy Tove 100 everyone!

  5. Tove Jansson video round-up!

    If you’re really in the mood to celebrate Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday, you might check out one or all of the many videos available online about Jansson’s life and work. Above, the entire BBC Documentary, Moominland Tales: The Life of Tove Jansson, which goes into great detail about Jansson’s childhood, her family, her life in Helsinki and rural Finland, her loves, the Moomins, and her novels (particularly The Summer Book, starting around the 51:00 mark).

    Above, a lovely little film tour (no narration) around the tiny island of Klovharun, where Jansson and her partner Tuulikki Pietilä built a house (no electricity!) to live and work in during the summers.

    The office favorite around here, however, has to be this short video of Jansson drawing a couple of Moomins without ever letting go of her cigarette. She was a pro.

  6. “What can I say about people? They amaze me as much by their good qualities as by their bad qualities. They are all so different, even though they must undergo the same fate. But then if there’s a downpour and most people try to hide, that doesn’t mean that they’re all the same. People even have their own particular ways of sheltering from rain.”

    — Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate (via dushenkaa)

  7. "A little bed, a little chest, / A little chair, to muse and rest"

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    A recent episode of Slate’s Culture Gabfest paid homage to left-field songs and rhymes in children’s books, which got us thinking about Palmer Brown, who was a master of the art. Above is a tune Hickory sings to himself while setting up his new house (which he’s moved to all alone) in a meadow. And below a song from Brown’s Beyond the Pawpaw Trees, taken presumably from that book within a book, Songs from Nowhere.*

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    *The book Anna Lavinia liked the very best of all was Mrs. Tetterbrace’s Songs from Nowhere. Anna Lavinia could never be certain whether ‘Nowhere’ meant ‘No where’ or ‘Now here,’ but she learned all the songs by heart. It was a lucky thing that she learned them, because one day the book was missing, and ever afterwards she could not find it.”

  8. “Oh, whoever has been himself alone can never find another’s loneliness strange.”

    — 

    Robert Walser, “Frau Wilke” (via a-quiet-green-agreement)

    Collected in Walser’s Berlin Stories; story translated by Christopher Middleton

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    It’s really a book about work and love, and Tove Jansson, from the time that she was quite young, took as her personal motto ‘Labora et Amare’: work and love.

    —Thomas Teal, translator of Fair Play, interviewed on the Leonard Lopate Show, 2011

    Listen to the rest of Leonard Lopate’s interview with Thomas Teal and Sophia Jansson, Tove Jansson’s niece here

    Photo above: Tuulikki Pietilä, Tove Jansson and Signe Hammarsten-Jansson in 1958, photographer unknown. 

  10. Nathan Gelgud writes (and draws) about Céleste Albaret’s memoir of her employer, Marcel Proust, in Biographile:

For this reader, [Albaret’s] great achievement is this warm memoir of an unusual friendship between a seemingly average woman and an eccentric genius.

    Nathan Gelgud writes (and draws) about Céleste Albaret’s memoir of her employer, Marcel Proust, in Biographile:

    For this reader, [Albaret’s] great achievement is this warm memoir of an unusual friendship between a seemingly average woman and an eccentric genius.

    (Source: biographile.com)

  11. Simon Leys, 1935 - 2014

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    —Simon Leys, “Memento Mori,” the last essay in The Hall of Uselessness. Simon Leys was the pen name of celebrated Sinologist Pierre Ryckmans, who died yesterday.

    See The Sydney Morning Herald's obituary for Leys here and Ian Buruma’s comprehensive essay on Leys’ work in his article on The Hall of Uselessness for The New York Review of Books here.

    This September, NYRB Classics will be publishing Leys’ translation of Simone Weil’s On the Abolition of All Political Parties.

  12. This summer, the ICA in London is celebrating 100 years of Tove Jansson with the exhibit Tove Jansson: Tales from the Nordic Archipelago. The photos above are from the show, and the captions are as follows: 

    C-G Hagström
    Tove at her studio in Helsinki, 1990

    Per Olov Jansson
    Tove’s first cottage, Sandskår, Pellinge, 1943

    Per Olov Jansson
    Tove on rocky stones, 1950s

    Per Olov Jansson
    Tove working with wood, 1950s

    All images courtesy the Finnish Institute in London.

  13. Happy Birthday, Tove Jansson!

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    Today is the 100th anniversary of Moomin-creator and NYRB Classics author Tove Jansson’s birth. Join us in wishing Jansson a happy birthday (or, “Hyvää syntymäpäivää” in Finnish) with a week-long celebration on the blog.

  14. Running away (from assassins / evil secret service / the ghost of a little girl) this weekend? Take these books with you. And run faster.

    Equal Danger, by Leonardo Sciascia

    An attorney, a judge, and then another judge are all shot dead in an imaginary country. Random or conspiracy? Either way, it’s paranoia city in Sciascia’s metaphysical detective novel.

    The Other, by Thomas Tryon

    An evil twin story. A really, really creepy evil twin story. What more do you need to know?

    Red Lights, by Georges Simenon

    Steve and Nancy just want to pick their kids up from camp, but when Steve decides to get drunk and pick up an escapee from Sing Sing along the way, the couples’ plans are derailed. Those kids are just going to have to wait.

    The Mad and the Bad, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

    What do you get when you put an evil architect, an insane asylum discharge, a super bratty kid, and a hired gunman together? Chaos. Bloody chaos.

    Rogue Male, by Geoffrey Household

    A bored hunter decides to play out his own version of “The Most Dangerous Game,” with a vicious dictator as the target. Suffice it to say, the game turns on him and he’s chased o’er hill and vale by a hunter as good—or better—than him.

    Fatale, by Jean-Patrick Manchette

    Aimee’s secret to being a great killer?: be beautiful, be deceptive, and always exercise in the buff (no, that’s not a euphemism).

    The Fox in the Attic, by Richard Hughes

    A young Welshman, unjustly considered complicit in a murder, travels to Bavaria to stay at his relatives’ castle. There he discovers a Germany torn apart by its recent defeat in WWI, unrequited love, and an intimate look into a growing political party that threatens to change everyone’s future.

    The Murderess, by Alexandros Papadiamantis

    It’s no fun being a woman on the dirt-poor island of Skiathos, and no one knows that better than Papadiamantis’ grandma-turned-murderer, Hadoula.

    Don’t Look Now, by Daphne du Maurier

    Daphne du Maurier was a master of nightmares, and this collection is full of them: vacation-ruining ghosts, midnight trysts that devolve into homicides, and the killer birds that Hitchcock loved so much.

  15. Hungarian is pretty…and you should join our book club.

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    —from the autograph manuscript of Béla Zombory-Moldován’s The Burning of the World (Chapter 7, to be exact).

    The Burning of the World is the August selection for the NYRB Classics Book Club. If you join by August 15th, The Burning of the World will be your first selection. So do it!