Alida Nugent talks about her new book You Don’t Have to Like Me: Essays on Growing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding Feminism, the messiness and realness of sex and sexuality, and putting likeability last. ...more
Garth Greenwell discusses his debut novel, What Belongs to You, crossing boundaries, language as defense, and the queer tradition of novel writing that blurs boundaries between fiction and essay and autobiography. ...more
The fight against Google’s digital library continues, and this time the effort has support from big-name authors like Margaret Atwood, Ursula K. Le Guin, Malcolm Gladwell, Peter Carey, and J. M. Coetzee. The case against Google making millions of books—many of them still under copyright protection—searchable online without paying for any licenses to do so goes back to 2005. With the most recent appeal coming back in favor of Google, the Authors Guild is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear the case.
So I re-read the opening, then the end once more. I looked at the cover. I turned it over to contemplate what’s already been said about it. I set the book down on the bench next to me and smiled. Then I began the review in the present tense.
Electronic utopians say, “Calm down, nothing has been lost. If anything, the opportunities for reading have become much greater…” In the literal sense, this is true. You can find almost any book you want somewhere. Those who know what they are looking for can find it on a computer, a Kindle, Nook, iPad, tablet, or smartphone; the electronic library goes on forever, and the volumes will not get moldy. What technological utopians don’t and can’t explain, however, is this: How does the appetite for serious reading get created in the first place?
Turns out writing projects and homework assignments are pretty much the same! Over at McSweeney’s, Nick Hornby offers his son eight handy excuses, learned over the course of Hornby’s own thirty-year career, for not handing in his school assignments.
In a demonstration of why he embodies the very essence of posivibes, Sir Elton John gave a surprise concert for London commuters in the city’s St. Pancras Station. The performance marked the release of the artist’s Wonderful Crazy Night, reports the Guardian.
Whether or not critics think the album stands up to some of his greats, there is a consensus that the joy Sir Elton brings to his work—the joy that makes him the kind of knighted legend to play in a subway station, for instance—makes the work “irresistible” and “infectiously spontaneous” all the same.
Watch a quick clip of the icon’s performance after the jump. (more…)
Finding a literary agent isn’t easy. It might just be the worst thing ever. Over at Publisher’s Weekly, Ken Pisani looks at the troubling process he went through until he found an agent—one he went to high school with.
Exciting news for poets everywhere! Northumberland’s Northern Poetry Library is piloting a new poetic form called the anchored terset. The Guardian reports: “The anchored terset strips poetry down to the bones, consisting of four lines, three words and just one piece of punctuation.”
Underwriting the words on that page are the counterposing sentiments I see in many writers I know, especially writers of color: At one pole there’s, I just want to be okay; I want my family/community to be okay. At the other pole there’s, If I only reach the mountaintop I’ll be respected, valid, wealthy, etc.
Brooklyn is a place of layers both personal and historical, one that, as Colm Tóibín puts it, is “full of ghosts.” Reflecting on the recent film adaptation of his novel, the Brooklyn author observes one of the borough’s more visible specters:
You could invent yourself here, even if the term self-invention was not yet understood by you.
Book collecting of antique and rare books remains big business. For example, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the original British version of the first book in the Harry Potter series, could be worth as much as $40,000—only five hundred were printed. The Observer explores the strange and expensive world of book collecting.
At Electric Literature, author Rachel Cantor discusses her second novel, Good on Paper, including the 15-year process of condensing her characters’ wide world into a story about adventure and translation.
I think it’s unrealistic to max out in every area of your life simultaneously—there’s just not time for everything. But if you’re able to prioritize certain elements of your life during certain periods, you can make everything work over time.