Author Daniel José Older talks about his new novel, Shadowshaper, noir influence in urban fantasy, gentrification, white privilege and the publishing industry, and why we need diverse books, now more than ever. ...more
Music is the ultimate consolation for reality’s letdowns (like being thirteen and still firmly living in the realm of childhood). I would listen to “Venus as a Boy” on repeat in my bedroom, curtains drawn, and imagine Allan’s face, his arms, his chest, his body. ...more
Paul Griner talks about his newest novel, Second Life, his just-released story collection Hurry Please I Want to Know, putting real life into fiction, and whether creative writing can be taught. ...more
In episode 31 of The Rumpus’s Make/Work podcast, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks with researcher/curator Aurora Tang, who has built a career around thinking about sustainability for artists and arts organizations. ...more
Because we’re adept cave dwellers, because we pull down the shades and curl into each other, because we find some sort of domestic bliss in being fake-married for seven days, I think we can do anything....more
Mark Danielewski talks about the "maddening energy of violence" and why he’s writing a 27–volume novel, starting with his first 850-page installment in the series, The Familiar, Volume 1: One Rainy Day in May. ...more
Shulem Deen talks about his memoir, All Who Go Do Not Return, his life as an ex-Hasidic author, divorce and parenting, and how painful he found it to be cast out from the religious sect he'd belonged to for over fifteen years. ...more
Editor and author George Hodgman talks about his new memoir, Bettyville, what makes for a good memoir, and returning to his hometown of Paris, Missouri from New York to take care of his aging mother. ...more
Tea has a myriad of shapes. If I may speak vulgarly and rashly, tea may shrink and crinkle like a Mongol’s boots. Or it may look like the dewlap of a wild ox, some sharp, some curling as the eaves of a house. It can look like a mushroom in whirling flight just as clouds do when they float out from behind a mountain peak.
NPR looks atCh’a Ching, or The Classic of Tea, the world’s oldest practical (and often poetic) guide to tea.
Students who read four to six books in a summer are more likely to maintain their reading skills between semesters. As a result, many schools develop summer reading programs to help stave off the inevitable intellectual decline students face during the summer months. However, assigning books to students might be less effective than allowing them to choose. Researcher Dr. Erin Kelly has been testing her theory by encouraging school districts to allow students to pick their own books. She argues that initial results with book-choice are successful enough to warrant rolling out a widespread program:
Tackling the academic achievement gap between the rich and poor is a staggering undertaking. This is a relatively simple piece of the puzzle. Many districts already have summer reading programs — we just have to let the children have a say in what they take home. And if that means a few of them pick “Frozen” rather than “Charlotte’s Web,” that’s a sacrifice we should be willing to make.
On the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo, Andrew Roberts argues that we’d all be better off with a little more Napoleon:
A vast amount of literature has explored why Napoleon fought such an unimaginative, error-prone battle at Waterloo. Hundreds of thousands of historians have pored over the questions of why he attacked when, where and how he attacked. Yet 200 years after the fact, a different question must be asked: Why was the Battle of Waterloo even fought? Was it really necessary to secure the peace and security of Europe?
Ariel Pink has released a new song, titled “I Need a Minute,” an eerily calming circular kind of track that does an uncannily great job of capturing the way it feels to view the world through a series of isolating plastic sheets and be warmly, comfortably disconcerted about it all. Pink wrote the track for the film Heaven Knows What, which is based on Arielle Holmes’s upcoming novel about heroin addiction in New York City, Mad Love in New York City, and stars the author. The film is slated to open NYC and LA on May 29. Watch a trailer after the jump, and listen to the new Ariel Pink track via Pitchfork.
“There’s something magical about it,” says Atwood. “It’s like Sleeping Beauty. The texts are going to slumber for 100 years and then they’ll wake up, come to life again. It’s a fairytale length of time. She slept for 100 years.”
Father John Misty is the stage moniker of Joshua Tillman, the erstwhile drummer for indie sensations, Fleet Foxes. The laugh tracks on Father John Misty’s slyly catchy ballad, “Bored In The USA,” begin to appear about halfway through the song. The suggestion to laugh will elicit some surprisingly authentic giggles, especially after a tongue-in-cheek chorus like this:
Sub-prime loans Craftsman homes Keep my prescriptions filled Now I can’t get off But I can kind of deal Oh I’m just a little bored in the USA Save me President Jesus Bored in the USA How did it happen
Thursday 5/28: The Journey Art Festival author showcase welcomes S. Renee Mitchell and guest poets Emily Newberry, Polo Catalani, and Alberto Moreno. The event serves as a fundraiser in support of the Sisters of the Road kitchen and other services. Food and music will accompany the reading. First Congregational United Church of Christ, 6:30 p.m., $20.
Seattle-based author Megan Kruse comes to Portland to read from her latest book, Call Me Home. Broadway Books, 7 p.m., free.
Not to be confused with David Joel Horowitz, the founder of conservative think tank the Freedom Center, Portland State historian David A. Horowitz has long been concerned with a populist approach to American politics (with books such as Beyond Left And Right: Insurgency and The Establishment). He will offer a multimedia presentation of his new memoir Getting There: An American Cultural Odyssey. Portland State University Smith Memorial Student Union, 7 p.m., free.
Growing up in a slew of Evangelical churches, I saw this system of governance deployed to handle anything from adultery to domestic violence to pedophilia. And in each instance, this system has failed to stop abusers or protect victims.
At Buzzfeed, Rumpus contributor Lyz Lenz writes about her experience in Evangelical churches and how these churches often fail to hold abusers accountable and protect victims.
While I’d never admit it, I’ve always harbored a shame about wanting to write. Even fictional characters who aspired to the same goal made me squirm with unease. Every Thursday night, as we watched the television series The Waltons, I waited in dread for the inevitable scene where Richard Thomas’ character would talk, rant, whine, shout or type feverishly about wanting to become a professional writer. The weekly outburst always came as some version of “With all these noisy kids distracting me, I’ll never be a writer!” Or, “Daddy, now I’ll never get to go to Boatwright College and become a writer!” Each tantrum made me shudder. To me writing wasn’t real work. And anyone who thought it was, he’d never really grow up. John-Boy Walton’s pride was my shame. I hated him for saying such impossible aspirations aloud. Such aspirations also seemed to demean the blue-collar folk who had to tolerate listening to them.
Shame on me for wanting to do something so worthless. Shame on me for not accepting the life my family lived. Shame on me for shaming them.
Earlier today, the United States Attorney General charged 14 FIFA officials with 47 counts of corruption, racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering. FIFA is the international association that oversees football (soccer), including the World Cup.
In the wake of the destruction of precious cultural artifacts during the unrest in Iran and Syria, a quiet memoir from the queen of mystery, Agatha Christie, remembers the landscape and archeological legacy. The autobiographical Come, Tell Me How You Live never technically went out of print, but HarperCollins will re-release the book in time for Ms. Christie’s 125th birthday. The new volume will include rare photographs of the author.
Last year’s battle between Amazon and Hachette over book prices and online sales seems only to have been a portent of an ongoing crisis between publishers and the online retailer. While HarperCollins was able to rather quickly negotiate a deal earlier this year with the online retailer, Amazon is now in a similar showdown with Penguin Random House. Penguin Random House was formed by the merger of two already huge publishers, Penguin and Random House (who disappointingly did not become Random Penguin). This negotiation with Amazon is its first as a combined company. Melville House breaks down the latest sticking points of the negotiation, including rumors that Penguin Random House might block book sales on the site.