As we “shelter at home” during this pandemic, you might be wondering what to do with your involuntary down time besides binge-watching on Netflix. If you’re looking for what sense others have made of plagues and pestilence, I have a few bookish ideas.
Each Lent, my wife and I read Christ on Trial: How the Gospel Unsettles our Judgement, by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. This brilliant book is a close reading of the scenes in each of the four Gospels where Jesus is on trial before the authorities, as well as a close-reading of readers’ own hearts.
Close reading is a way of engaging a text with special attention to its language, tone, techniques. It has gone out of favor lately, as ideological readings have taken over. We’ve named this blog “Close Reading” because we want to model and encourage an engagement with texts themselves: those we write and those we read.
Slant’s Publisher & Editor on why humanism remains a vital tradition–indeed, more urgently needed than ever in a time when politicization and ideology are reducing art to propaganda and groupthink–and how a book publisher committed to humanism and literary craft can help us learn how to “sound together.”
This is not how we envisioned the debut of Close Reading, the new blog sponsored by Slant Books. Nor is this the post we intended to serve as the virtual champagne bottle that we would smash on the prow of our spanking new literary vessel. We took for granted that the launch would take place under “normal” circumstances.
“At one point, toward the end of the book, he tallies up his many lies and calls himself ‘God’s Liar.’ It’s unclear what he means by that title. Does he think of himself as having some sort of divine license to lie? Is he lying on God’s behalf, or with God’s approval? I’m not sure he knows why he calls himself ‘God’s Liar.'”
“I tend to write about outlaws and outsiders, people who don’t fit in, who resist standard types and conventions. Many people in the arts seem to feel in a grandiose way unlike the so-called “common herd,” though I suspect everyone feels uncommon and just making-do.”
Poet Paul Mariani talks about his new poetry collection from Slant, Ordinary Time.
Robert Cording discusses his new book, mystery, and metaphor existing in our everyday lives.
Jeanine talks about the writing life, why she writes about rhinos, and what it means to write from the perspective of an “ex.”
Rubén is full of insight and fascinating information.