The Rumpus Book Club chats with Steve Stern about his new novel The Pinch, about what it means for Jews to be "people of the book," and how fiction and history can be entwined in entertaining and challenging ways. ...more
"Five Easy Pieces" is a Rumpus exclusive excerpt from the forthcoming 52 Men, with autobiographical portraits based on based on Lou Reed, Michael Stipe, Jonathan Franzen, Jay Carney, and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper. ...more
Tomorrow Rumpus columnist Allyson McCabe will begin hosting “FM Mutations,” a new radio show on Bridgeport, CT station 89.5 FM WPKN (and online at WPKN.org). Every 5th Wednesday of the month from noon till 1 p.m. Allyson will spin rock, punk, and indie gems—mostly demos, covers, outtakes and other rarities. And on Sunday August 9th from 5:30-7 p.m. Allyson will also be hosting a special edition of the show she’s calling “Lonely Space Traveler”—a riff on the above with tunes and found sound all spun together in an experimental audio montage.
Allyson’s first playlist will include tracks from The Slits, The Velvet Underground, White Reaper, and others. You can also hit her up for requests by visiting the show on Facebook or by leaving her a broadcast-ready voicemail at (347) 394-0022. If you call, don’t forget to include your first name, where you’re calling from, the title and artist of the song you’d like to hear, and maybe a few words about why you love the track. All of the FM Mutations shows will be archived for on-demand listening on the show’s Facebook page, on the WPKN archive, and on Allyson’s site.
For Electric Literature, Emma Adler interviews Kathleen Alcott about her new novel Infinite Home. Their conversation covers topics surrounding non-biological family structures, and the importance of setting in Alcott’s work:
I have a memory that is very much image-based. Maybe this makes me sound like a lunatic, but I sort of consider it a secret power, that I can be in line at the deli and suddenly be very much confronted by a very clear image of a place I was once, can conjure the texture of the t-shirts people I loved wore, the color of the kitchen tile, the particular type of tree… I tend to attach to these sort of environmental details, and so sitting down and writing a fictional place, I’m “seeing” in the same way.
Hether Fortune’s latest single premiered this weekend, the first from the upcoming Wax Idols record American Tragic, slated for release this October on Collect Records. The track, “Lonely You,” has been described as “a cathartic breakup song” by The FADER, “liv[ing] in a grim, melodic sweet spot between total bummer and feel-good sing-a-long, with a hook that sounds better suited for fist-pumping post-trauma than wallowing in the thick of it.” (more…)
Not only does the album fulfill many specific qualities of postmodernism, and postmodernism specifically shaped by black experience, but also does so within a form traditionally consigned to canonical, usually white, “masters” like Melville and Pynchon.
Over at Huffington Post, Colton Valentine has curated a collection of Simone De Beauvoir’s archetypes for people in accordance with their loss of childhood from her Ethics of Ambiguity—and applied them to our dating lives. From those too focused on the careers they hate to those who can’t sit still and demand to go hiking or base-jumping, and the mystical one who saw the meaningless of life and became humanist perfection, these archetypes are more accurate than we want them to be, and beg the question: Oh god which one am I?
With the publication of several new young adult novels by teen authors, Julia Eccleshare wonders if age impacts a novelist’s ability to connect with younger readers. In addition, Eccleshare returns to the origins of the young adult genre, and investigates the influence of popular works by John Green, Judy Blume, and Beverly Cleary.
The sun never sets on the literature of the British Empire, does it?
Last year the estate of P. G. Wodehouse gave its blessing to Jeeves and the Wedding Bells, a new installment in the beloved series, written 40 years after the author’s death. The extensive works of Kingsley Amis are being reissued in handsome paperback editions by New York Review Books—the literary equivalent of cryogenically freezing someone for a long trip to the outer space of historical significance. Grove Press is re-publishing The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy, a 1955 picaresque novel about life at Trinity College in Dublin.
Nearly everything Gould ever held in his hands slipped away. He lost his glasses; he lost his teeth. “I keep losing fountain pens, change, and even manuscripts,” he wrote. “I lost my diary in the toilet,” he reported one day. He himself appeared and disappeared.
Joe Gould “was a toothless madman who slept in the street” and attempted to write “The Oral History of Our Time,” jotting down whatever he was told by anyone in countless notebooks. Though only a few of his manuscripts didn’t get lost over the years, Jill Lepore profiles Gould and his unbelievable story over at the New Yorker.
In such a world, the trajectory of any one character, however prominent, never escapes being warped by the gravity of another. Even if, as in Preparation for the Next Life, these background figures are no longer alive. Just as marginalization cannot reduce them to zeroes, neither do destruction and disappearance….
At Full Stop, Maxwell Donnewald writes about Atticus Lish’s novel Preparation for the Next Life, using it to explore the push-and-pull relationship between reality and fiction, and reality in fiction.
The early skepticism for The End of the Tour may have been misguided. David Poland caught up with James Ponsoldt (the film’s director) and Donald Marguiles (its Pulitzer-winning screenwriter) to touch on Wallaces’s legacy, the Lipsky interview, and the process behind what’s since been deemed a “glorious casting.”
As USA Today reports, the President shared that he can’t rap last Thursday, quashing many a dream of seeing the Commander in Chief reprise hits like this, this, or this:
“My rapping skills are terrible,” the President confessed….“That’s one thing I can’t do is rap. I like rap but I cannot rap.”…He added, however: “I got enough of a rap that I got Michelle to marry me.”
The President appeared as a surprise guest at the First Lady’s Beating the Odds Summit on July 23rd. The first event of Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative—an effort aimed at helping college-bound teens succeed academically—invited over 100 students from a wide range of communities to discuss success in higher education. After the President’s appearance, the rapper Wale talked about his time in college and performed a few songs, which we can only assume inspired the executive announcement. Watch a video of the President’s address after the jump.
Amazon just turned twenty years old. Even though the company might be too young to celebrate with champagne, competitors have begun to levy charges that the online retailer is becoming a monopoly. While Amazon’s tentacles spread across many retail sectors, the store’s dominance in books represents a major monopolistic threat. Fortune takes a look at the fears that Amazon is growing too powerful, its control of printed material, how worried everyone should be, and what can be done about it.
In the existing ways that our fashion, speech and music are ripped from our bodies and plastered as spectacle, this otherwise radical platform becomes a tool of injustice and control. This is the shortcoming of inviting the white gaze. While many see visibility as a step toward progress, when we open our cultural products to folks with no access, their cultural power is cheapened.