However, I have never clogged myself with the praises of pastoral life, nor with nostalgia for an innocent past of perverted acts in pastures. No. One need never leave the confines of New York to get all the greenery one wishes—I can’t even enjoy a blade of grass unless I know there’s a subway handy, or a record store or some other sign that people do not totally regret life. It is more important to affirm the least sincere; the clouds get enough attention as it is and even they continue to pass. Do they know what they’re missing? Uh huh.

Frank O’Hara, b. 3/27/1926, Meditations in an Emergency

classicpenguin:

In which MentalFloss puts famous first lines into RapPad and amazing results follow. There’s nothing more to say about this, so we’ll just leave you with a sample, and invite you to go see the rest:

Robert Frost/2Pac

Whose woods these are I think I know
Creep with me through that immortal flow.
(“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” and “Thug Passion”)

Yes. Yes good.

17. WILLIAM BLAKE/LIL WAYNE

Tyger tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night
I’m off the hook like cordless phones, my identity so right

(“The Tyger” and “My Weezy”)

“[Russia] is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” ―Winston Churchill

Fascinated and perplexed by the host country as you watch the Winter Olympics? Here are some books to Putin front of your face and help you unravel Russia.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking by Anya Von Bremzen
Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart
Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie
Russian Poets edited by Peter Washington
Putin’s Labyrinth by Steve LeVine
Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Resurrection by David Remnick
Russian Journal by Andrea Lee
Lost and Found in Russia by Susan Richards

“You must write, and read, as if your life depended on it.” 
― Adrienne Rich

Virginia Woolf by Hermione Lee

Against Wind & Tide: Letters and Journals, 1947-1986 by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Eudora: A Writer’s Life by Ann Waldron

Zora Neale Hurston: A Life in Letters

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin

In honor of William Butler Yeats’ birthday, we bring you Colin Farrell reading “When You Are Old.”