The Best Book Covers of 2018 | Designed by: Tree Abraham / Boyang Xia / Rodrigo Corral / Oliver Munday / Matthew Young / John Gall / Joan Wong / Kelly Blair / Peter Mendelsund

Kevin Young, Brown, design by Kelly Blair, collage by Jason Kernevich              Yoko Tawada, The Emissary, design by John Gall 
Publisher: Knopf                                                                        Publisher: New Directions  
Jorge Barón Biza, The Desert and Its Seed, Oliver Munday         Ahmed Bouanani, The Shutters, design by Oliver Munday
Publisher: New Directions                                           Publisher: New Directions  
Amparo Dávila, The Houseguest, design by Oliver Munday            Jay Rubin, The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories, by Matthew Young
Publisher: New Directions                                                                  Publisher: Penguin
Mark Truscott, Branches, design by Tree Abraham                           Hiroaki Sato, On Haiku, design by Boyang Xia / Rodrigo Corral 
                Publisher: BookThug                                                          Publisher: New Directions  
Lisa Margonelli, Underbug designed by Rodrigo Corral                   Inger Christensen, The Condition of Secrecy, design by Joan Wong 
Scientific American / Farrar, Straus & Giroux                                      Publisher: New Directions  
Nico Walker, Cherry, design by Janet Hansen                              David Sedaris, Calypso designed by Peter Mendelsund
Publisher: Knopf                                                             Publisher: Little, Brown
William Carlos Williams, The Doctor Stories, design by Joan Wong                     Nate Chinen, Playing Changes designed by Kelly Blair
Pantheon                                                                      Publisher: New Directions
José Revueltas, The Hole, designed by John Gall                          Helene Tursten, An Elderly Woman is Up To No Good  
    Publisher: New Directions                                                                             Soho Press
T. S. Eliot, The Poems of T. S. Eliot Vol I & II, design by Alex Merto (FSG)


Book//mark - The Outsider | Colin Wilson, 1956

  The Outsider, Gollancz, London 1956                                                                                            Colin Wilson, 1956 

“The outsider is not sure who he is. He has found an “I”, but it is not his true “I”.’
His main business is to find his way back to himself.” 

“In his embryonic form, as the Outsider, he does not know himself well enough to understand the
 driving force behind his feelings. That is why his chief concern is with thinking, not with doing.” 

“Ask the Outsider what he ultimately wants,and he will admit he doesn't know.Why?
Because he wants it instinctively,and it is not always possible to tell what your instincts are driving towards.” 

“Some are perfectly satisfied with what they have; they eat, drink, impregnate their wives, and take
 life as it comes. Others can never forget that they are being cheated; that life tempts them to struggle
 by offering them the essence of sex, of beauty, of success; and that she always seems to pay in counterfeit money.” 

“The Outsider is always unhappy, but he is the agent that ensures happiness for millions of ‘Insiders’.” 

“These men are in prison: that is the Outsider’s verdict. They are quite contented in prison—caged
 animals who have never known freedom; but it is prison all the same. And the Outsider? He is in
 prison too: nearly every Outsider in this book has told us so in a different language; but he knows
 it. His desire is to escape. But a prison-break is not an easy matter; you must know all about your
prison, otherwise you might spend years in tunnelling, like the Abbe in The Count of Monte Cristo,
 and only find yourself in the next cell.”

“He alone is aware of the truth, and if all men were aware of it, there would be an end of life. In the
 country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. But his kingship is kingship over nothing. It brings
 no powers and privileges, only loss of faith and exhaustion of the power to act. Its world is a world
 without values.” 

“Man is as much a slave to his immediate surroundings now as he was when he lived in tree-huts.
 Give him the highest, the most exciting thoughts about man's place in the universe, the meaning of
 history; they can all be snuffed out in a moment if he wants his dinner, or feels irritated by a child
 squalling on a bus. He is bound by pettiness.” 

“Most men have nothing in their heads but their physical needs; put them on a desert island with
 nothing to occupy their minds and they would go insane. They lack real motive. The curse of
civilization is boredom.” 

“The outsider, Haller says, is a self-divided man; being self-divided, his chief desire is to be unified.
 He is selfish as a man with a lifelong raging toothache.” 

“Cézanne's painting is strictly painting, and its value is immense; but Van Gogh's painting has the
 Outsider's characteristic: it is a laboratory refuse of a man who treated his own life as an experiment
 in living; it faithfully records moods and developments of vision on the manner of a Bildungsroman.” 

“The Outsider’s case against society is very clear. All men and women have these dangerous,
unnamable impulses, yet they keep up a pretense, to themselves, to others; their respectability,
their philosophy, their religion, are all attempts to gloss over, to make civilized and rational
something that is savage, unorganized, irrational. He is an Outsider because he stands for truth.” 

“The exploration of oneself is usually also an exploration of the world at large, of other writers,
a process of comparison with oneself with others, discoveries of kinships, gradual illumination
of one's own potentialities.” 

“Freedom posits free-will; that is self-evident. But Will can only operate when there is first a motive.
 No motive, no willing. But motive is a matter of belief; you would not want to do anything unless
 you believed it possible and meaningful. And belief must be belief in the existence of something;
that is to say, it concerns what is real. So ultimately, freedom depends upon the real. The Outsider’s
 sense of unreality cuts off his freedom at the root. It is as impossible to exercise freedom in an unreal
 world as it is to jump while you are falling.” 

“There is in Shaw, as in Gurdjieff and Nietzsche, a recognition of the immense effort of Will that
is necessary to express even a little freedom, that places them beside Pascal and St. Augustine as
religious thinkers. Their view is saved from pessimism only by its mystical recognition of the
possibilities of pure Will, freed from the entanglements of automatism” 

“The civilized man and the wolf-man live at enmity most of the time, and it would seem that Harry
 Haller is bound to spend his days divided by their squabbling. But sometimes, as in the tavern, they
make peace, and then a strange state ensues; for Harry finds that a combination of the two makes him
 akin to the gods. In these moments of vision, he is no longer envious of the bourgeois who finds life
 so straightforward, for his own conflicts are present in the bourgeois, on a much smaller scale. He, as
 self-realizer, has deliberately cultivated his two opposing natures until the conflict threatens to tear
him in two, because he knows that when he has achieved the secret of permanently reconciling them,
he will live at a level of intensity unknown to the bourgeois. His suffering is not a mark of his
inferiority, even though it may render him less fit for survival than the bourgeois; unreconciled,
it is the sign of his greatness; reconciled, it is manifested as ‘more abundant life’ that makes the
 Outsider’s superiority over other types of men unquestionable. When the Outsider becomes aware
of his strength, he is unified and happy. Haller”

“It was an extremely hard and discouraging business, for I knew no one whose interests overlapped
 with mine. I married when I was nineteen, and a wife and child added to the problems. But at least
it meant that I got used to working completely and totally alone, and not expecting encouragement.
Later on, reviewers and critics were outraged by what one of them called “his stupefying assurance
 about his own genius.” But it would have been impossible to go on working without some conviction
 of genius—at least, of certainty about the importance of what I was doing, and the belief that it wouldn’t
matter if no other human being ever came to share this certainty. The feeling of alienation had to be
 totally accepted. Luckily, I’ve always had a fairly cheerful temperament, not much given to self-pity.
 So I went on working, reading and writing in my total vacuum, without contact with any other writer
 or thinker.” 

“It seemed to me that a solution must be found. Here, my natural optimism was to my advantage.
For when I read Sartre or Camus or Graham Greene, I experienced a temperamental rejection of
their pessimism. I suspected that their ultimate picture might be distorted by a certain self-pity or
lack of discipline—or, in the case of Greene, by a certain congenital lack of vitality. I suspected
that if the problem left them defeated, it was because they had not attacked it hard enough.” 

“Never, until these last few days, had I understood the meaning of existence. I was like the others…
I said with them: The ocean is green, that white speck up there is a seagull, but I didn’t feel that
it existed…And then suddenly existence had unveiled itself.” 

“The vitality of the ordinary members of society is dependent on its Outsiders. Many Outsiders unify
 themselves, realize themselves as poets or saints. Others remain tragically divided and unproductive,
 but even they supply soul-energy to society; it is their strenuousness that purifies thought and prevents
the bourgeois world from foundering under its own dead-weight; they are society’s spiritual dynamos.” 

“But the problem for the individual always will be the opposite of this, the conscious striving not to
limit the amount of experience seen and touched; the intolerable struggle to expose the sensitive
areas of being to what may possibly hurt them; the attempt to see as a whole, although the instinct
 of self-preservation fights against the pain of the internal widening, and all the impulses of spiritual
 laziness build into waves of sleep with every new effort. The individual begins that long effort as
an Outsider; he may finish it as a saint.” 

Colin Wilson, The Outsider, 1956

 The Outsider, Houghton Mifflin Co, 1956 

On Christmas Day, 1954, alone in his room, Wilson sat down on his bed and began
to write in his journal. He described his feelings as follows:

It struck me that I was in the position of so many of my favourite characters in fiction: 
Dostoevsky's Raskolnikov, Rilke's Malte Laurids Brigge, the young writer in Hamsun's Hunger
alone in my room, feeling totally cut off from the rest of society. It was not a position I relished...
Yet an inner compulsion had forced me into this position of isolation. I began writing about it 
in my journal, trying to pin it down. And then, quite suddenly, I saw that I had the makings of
 a book. I turned to the back of my journal and wrote at the head of the page: 'Notes for a book 
The Outsider in Literature'...

Introduction: The Outsider, twenty years on. Picador, 1978

City at the Edge of the World | Wooden toys by Lyonel Feininger (1913 - 1955)

Lyonel Feninger, working with small pieces of wood, 1951                                                      Lyonel Feininger, Toy Town, 1925 
 Lyonel Feininger, The City at the Edge of the World (1925–55)
Lyonel Feininger, The City at the Edge of the World (1925–55)
Lyonel Feininger, The City at the Edge of the World 
Lyonel Feininger, The City at the Edge of the World 
Lyonel Feininger, Untitled, 1944
 Four Figures and a Cat-Characters from The Kin-der-Kids and Wee Willie Winkie's
Lyonel Feininger, City At the Edge of the World 
Lyonel Feininger, A Group of Houses and Figures, 1949
Lyonel Feninger, working with small pieces of wood
Photo: Andreas Feininger

 Lyonel Feininger's love of boats, trains, and model making lasted from boyhood into old age.
As he developed his own style of lighthearted expressionism in his drawings, his model making
moved from precisely detailed realistic reproductions to more playful caricatured forms.

Lyonel Feininger (1871 - 1956), one of his sons, photographer Theodor Lux Feininger (second left),
 Central Park, New York, 1951

Living in Germany in the years leading up to World War One, he developed designs and
prototypes of toy trains for a Munich firm. The outbreak of war brought the project to a halt
just as the models were on the verge of going into production.

For most of the war years Feininger lived a withdrawn life, and after the war, new toys appeared.
His son, T. Lux, wrote:

 If the model trains of 1914 had been reasonable, the toys of the post-war years don't even try to be.
 Quite the contrary: proportion, harmony of related parts, any possibility of 'functioning' in the
 accepted sense of the word, has been abandoned. After 1914 my father made no more trains; 
from around 1920 on, houses, people and ships, are the subject matter of the carved playthings...

Lyonel Feininger, Eisenbahn (Lokomotive und vier Waggons), Kirche und fünf Häuser 
(in 11 parts of various sizes) , ca. 1913–1914

Lyonel Feininger started carving and painting wood around 1913, when he was working
on a commission for a Munich-based toymaker.

Houses, 1920s-1940s

I can’t remember when exactly the toy town had begun; but in 1921 already my father writes that
 “the time for my periodical craze for making toys for Christmas is approaching. Every year I get 
the urge to saw wood into bits and paint them in bright colours. The boys take it for granted that 
I shall make ‘mannequins’ for them.”

Figures, 1920-1940s

These “boys” were then 15, 12 and 11 years old, respectively. Speaking for my brother Laurence 
and myself, I may say that we still did “take it for granted” that there would be new citizens for 
the growing city; but in view of his continuing production year after year one may presume that 
there was a direct reward for the artist in the gratification of his “annual urge.” In 1931 he still 
wrote of the “usual toy-making season,” but soon afterward, his saw and chisel began a long 
rest, not to be broken until he had entered his old age.

Lyonel Feininger, City at the Edge of the World,
published by Frederick A Praeger, New York, 1965


Winter | Paintings by Arkhip Kuindzhi (1842-1910)

Arkhip Kuindzhi, Winter, 1895
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Winter. Fog, 1895
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Winter, 1895
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Winter, 1895
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Sea. Gloomy Day, 1878
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Moonlight Night. Winter
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Kazbek, 1908
Arkhip Kuindzhi, Winter

Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (1842-1910) was a Russian landscape painter of Greek descent.


Alphabetarion # I | Ayn Rand, 1943

ABC-book of the 1600s

“To say "I love you" one must know first how to say the "I".”

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, 1943

Meu nome é Tanos | Lost Bodies, 2017


Tο καράβι ακουμπάει στο ντόκο.
Νερά ήρεμα ποταμίσια, αδιαφανή αλλά καθαρά.
Παράξενο, δίπλα στο ποτάμι και έχει τόση ξηρασία.
Η κάμαρα με τα ρούχα κρεμασμένα από το ταβάνι για να στεγνώξουν.
Προτιμάω να μην ανοίξω το φως.

Ζέστη, ξηρασία, Zέστη
Το ήσυχα κυλάει η ζωή.

Στην τηλεόραση ο σιχαμένος τηλεπαρουσιαστής είναι Έλληνας, 
έχει γίνει ένα χαμογελαστό τέρας αλλόκοτης ηλικίας από τις πλαστικές.
Οι γραφιάνθρωποι πάνε για μπύρες και οι ευαγγελιστές για ξεκούραση.
Η πόλη βαριέται, υποφέρει, διασκεδάζει.

Meu nome é Tanos 

Διπλή τριπλή σειρά τα ρούχα που κρέμονται από το ταβάνι για να στεγνώξουν.

Ψιχαλίζει. Επιτέλους. Μοσχοβολάει “Terra Brasileira” 

Κοιτάζω ένα δέντρο/φυτό που είναι στη γλάστρα. Είναι πάνω από 40 χρόνων, παρόλο που δεν του δίνουν σημασία, 
αυτό ξέρει τα πάντα για την οικογένεια, έχει δει χαρές, θανάτους, τσακωμούς, πράγματα που εγώ δεν πρόκειται 
να μάθω ποτέ.

Στο λευκό τοίχο ένα μαύρο ματ χαρτόνι απορροφά το φως και μέσα εκεί τρεμοπαίζουν αστέρια, 
κοιτάζω έξω από το παράθυρο, τα αστέρια έχουν περάσει κάτω από τα σύννεφα.

Ο Edison μου εξηγεί ότι δεν κάνει σεισμούς γιατί έχει πολλά μυρμήγκια που ανοίγουν τρύπες στο χώμα 
και έτσι η γη ανασαίνει.

Η βροχή ακούγεται πάνω στα δέντρα, δυναμώνει, σε λίγο θα γίνουν ποτάμια αλλά δεν πρόκειται να δροσίσει.

Επάνω στα ψηλά κτήρια έχει φωτάκια για τα αεροπλάνα.
Γυρνάω από τη βόλτα μου και σχεδόν πάντα, μόλις φτάνω στον όροφό μου με πιάνει κατούρημα. 
Ίσα που προλαβαίνω να μπω.

Meu nome é Tanos 

Ένας παππούς μου είπε ότι κάποιος πολύ παλιά έκλεισε τον διάολο μέσα σε ένα μπουκάλι και τον ξέχασε εκεί 
και μετά από πολλά πολλά χρόνια που το βρήκαν, τα δάκρυά του είχαν γίνει εξαιρετικό ποτό.

Ήταν αυτό που πίναμε γουλιά γουλιά όλο το βράδυ.

Meu nome é Tanos

Lost Bodies, Meu nome é Tanos, 2017

Common Sense Ain't Common | Will Rogers, 1879-1935

Will Rogers 

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression” 

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people. ” 

“You know, everybody's ignorant, just on different subjects.” 

“When you're through learning, you're through.” 

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.” 

“It is better for some one to think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

“It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute.” 

''Common sense ain't common''

“All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance.” 

“I never met a man that I didn't like.” 

“The minute you read something that you can't understand, you can almost be sure that it was 
drawn up by a lawyer. ” 

“There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. 
The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” 

Will Rogers 

“Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, 
to impress people that they don't like.” 

“We'll show the world we are prosperous if we have to go broke to do it.” 

“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” 

“If you want to be successful, it's just this simple. Know what you are doing. 
Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.” 

“Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed 
through life trying to save.” 

“Ten men in our country could buy the whole world and ten million can't buy enough to eat.” 

“It's not what we don't know that hurts. It's what we know that ain't so.” 

“There’s only one thing that can kill the movies, and that’s education.”

“Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.” 

“An onion can make people cry, but there has never been a vegetable 
invented to make them laugh.” 

“There are two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither works.”

“People's minds are changed through observation and not through argument.” 

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.” 

“An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out.” 

“If stupidity got us into this, why can't stupidity get us out?” 

“Don't let yesterday take up too much of today”

“A man that don’t love a horse, there is something the matter with him.” 

Will Rogers, 1879-1935

Cherokee-American comedian, humorist, social commentator, circus performer, vaudeville performer and actor.

Will Rogers standing on the wing of a seaplane, 1935

Ο γκρεμιστής | Κωστής Παλαμάς, 1907

Κωστής Παλαμάς (1859-1943)

Ακούστε. Εγώ ειμαι ο γκρεμιστής, γιατ’ είμ’ εγώ κι ο χτίστης,
ο διαλεχτός της άρνησης κι ο ακριβογιός της πίστης.
Και θέλει και το γκρέμισμα νου και καρδιά και χέρι.
Στου μίσους τα μεσάνυχτα τρέμει ενός πόθου αστέρι.
Κι αν είμαι της νυχτιάς βλαστός, του χαλασμού πατέρας,
πάντα κοιτάζω προς το φως το απόμακρο της μέρας.
Εγώ ο σεισμός ο αλύπητος, εγώ κι ο ανοιχτομάτης·
του μακρεμένου αγναντευτής, κι ο κλέφτης κι ο απελάτης·
και με το καριοφίλι μου και με το απελατίκι
την πολιτεία την κάνω ερμιά, γη χέρσα το χωράφι.
Κάλλιο φυτρώστε, αγριαγκαθιές, και κάλλιο ουρλιάστε, λύκοι,
κάλλιο φουσκώστε, πόταμοι, και κάλλιο ανοίχτε, τάφοι,
και, δυναμίτη, βρόντηξε και σιγοστάλαξε, αίμα,
παρά σε πύργους άρχοντας και σε ναούς το Ψέμα.
Των πρωτογέννητων καιρών η πλάση με τ’ αγρίμια
ξανάρχεται. Καλώς να ’ρθεί. Γκρεμίζω την ασκήμια.

Είμ’ ένα ανήμπορο παιδί που σκλαβωμένο το ’χει
το δείλιασμα, κι όλο ρωτά και μήτε ναι, μήτε όχι
δεν του αποκρίνεται κανείς και πάει κι όλο προσμένει
το λόγο που δεν έρχεται, και μια ντροπή το δένει.
Μα το τσεκούρι μοναχά στο χέρι σαν κρατήσω,
και το τσεκούρι μου ψυχή μ’ ένα θυμό περίσσο.
Τάχα ποιός μάγος, ποιό στοιχειό τού δούλεψε τ’ ατσάλι
και νιώθω φλόγα την καρδιά και βράχο το κεφάλι,
και θέλω να τραβήξω εμπρός και πλατωσιές ν’ ανοίξω,
και μ’ ένα Ναι να τιναχτώ, μ’ ένα Όχι να βροντήξω;
Καβάλα στο νοητάκι μου, δεν τρέμω σας, όποιοι είστε·
γρικάω, βγαίνει από μέσα του μια προσταγή: Γκρεμίστε!

Κωστής Παλαμάς, 1907
συλ.  Δειλοί και σκληροί στίχοι, 1928


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