’cause: nobel

David Remnick gets it right, as the editor of The New Yorker usually does: if you mean to celebrate today’s announcement that Bob Dylan has won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, do it by ear. Cue up “Abandoned Love,” listen to “Desolation Row,” with “Brownsville Girl” to follow that, then “Dignity,” then “Boots of Spanish Leather,” “Lay Down Your Weary Tune.” Keep going. And while you’re doing that, read this, from Dylan’s seductive memoir, Chronicles: Volume One (2004), in which he recalls his youth in Minnesota:

Winters, ten below with a twenty below wind-chill factor were common, thawing spring and hot, steamy summers — penetrating sun and balmy weather where temperatures rose over one hundred degrees. Summers were filled with mosquitoes that could bite through your boots — winters with blizzards that could freeze a man dead. There were glorious autumns as well.

Mostly what I did growing up was bide my time. I always knew there was a bigger world out there but the one I was in at the time was all right, too. With not much media to speak of it, it was basically life as you saw it. The things I did growing up were the things I thought everybody did — march in parades, have bike races, play ice hockey. (Not everyone was expected to play football or basketball or even baseball, but you had to know how to skate and play ice hockey.)

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alice munro at the rink: a fervent made-up sort of hostility

Huzzah for Alice Munro, whom the Swedish Academy tried to phone this morning to tell her that she’d won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature. She didn’t pick up, according to The New York Times, so they had to leave a message.

It bears repeating: huzzah.

Munro isn’t known for her tales from the rink. You know that, everybody does — though it is possible that tourists crossing the country guilelessly guided by Frommer’s Far & Wide: A Weekly Guide to Canada’s Best Travel Experiences (2011) might believe otherwise. If Tofino is, as Frommer’s advises, the best surf town in North America and Nova Scotia’s Joggins Fossil Cliffs are a great place to look for fossils, then of course

Canadian writers ranging from Alice Munro to Mordecai Richler and Roch Carrier have written about hockey.

Technically it’s true. It’s not untrue. And if the hockey is almost entirely in Munro’s backgrounds, the glances she gives it show that her perception is rarely anything but lucent.

For instance: Continue reading