Austin Bunn talks about his new story collection, The Brink,, his latest script for a short film, In the Hollow, working in multiple mediums, and why some novels read like early drafts of screenplays. ...more
In Yearbook #2, Alysia Abbott talks about her memoir Fairyland, a storytelling and community project for children of parents who died of AIDS, and how upsetting is can be to pour through old journals. ...more
For nearly ten years I had lain beside him: the snoring was a blow, but, looking back, it was also a necessary portent, an etch in our story, the fuzzy spot on a picture frame you can’t tell is from the photograph aging or a fingerprint that left its caressing mark on the glass. ...more
Visual artist and writer Peter Witte is unsure whether the killing of a sentient being is problematic, but he wishes that bacon, one of his favorite foods, could exist without all the suffering. ...more
In episode 32 of The Rumpus’s Make/Work podcast, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks with poet and composer Nathan Langston about the origin and development of his most recent project, and the effect it’s had on his creative and personal life. ...more
Author Maya Lang discusses her Joyce-inspired novel The Sixteenth of June, the "illiterate, underbred" epic Ulysses, and the insufficiency of "yes" in an interactive interview with Allison Adair. ...more
Sean Wilsey discusses his latest book of essays, More Curious, being David Foster Wallace’s neighbor, the healing power of the American road trip, and the difference between writing fiction and memoir. ...more
Like a detective novel, these books are characterized by a central mystery and the process of detection that leads to solving that mystery. The mystery, however, is not a crime—it’s a life. A person, usually only tangentially related to the subject (the latter is often deceased), becomes engrossed in the discovery of this person’s life, and in the best of the genre we also discover more about the detective’s self along the way.
Writing for LitHub, Nicola DeRobertis-Theye explores the genre of “biographical detection” and provides a reading list for this newly-named literary device.
Over at the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring talks about James Wright’s famous epiphanic poem Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota, in conjunction with Ann Beattie’s new story Yancey, and the general discussion and controversy of the poem’s famous last line: “I have wasted my life.”
For a nicely surreal twist on the summer outdoor concert, the Storm King Art Center, an outdoor sculptural garden north of New York City featuring works by the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Goldsworthy, and Alexander Calder, offer up its annual series. And this year’s lineup doesn’t fail to earn the series’ setting, with The Feelies, Frankie Cosmos, Lee Ranaldo (formerly of Sonic Youth), Porches, and Alex Bleeker and the Freaks carrying its dates through September. The series began this past weekend with Frankie Cosmos and Porches, to be followed by Ranaldo on August 9, and then The Feelies and Alex Bleeker and the Freaks closing it on September 20th. Find details and more via Control Touring.
Amazon launched an online bookstore two decades ago. Since then, the Internet has been changing the way readers buy books. Paris has been a major book-selling city since the 17th century, when the first bouquinistes began lining the banks of the Seine. The 240 bouquinistes sell everything from the rare to the out-of-print, but now they face a serious threat from Internet sellers. BBC takes a look at these unique Parisian booksellers on the precipice of either evolution or extinction.
If you loved Choose Your Own Adventure stories as a kid and still wonder where all that branching narrative magic went, you might want to check out ADJUNCT by Ishmael Gilgamesh, in which you are a writer (of some kind) who may (or may not) become an adjunct to pay the bills. This cheeky postmodern pseudo-adventure lives on Inklewriter, the latest and probably best platform yet developed to host branching narratives on the web. You can create and share your own stories too—but be warned: it’s harder than it looks!
Tuesday 6/30: Join the Los Angeles Public Library in celebrating pride month with readings by Los Angeles area writers, artists and activists Veronica Reyes, Kyle Sawyer, Melissa Chadburn, and Seth Fischer. 6 p.m. at the Arroyo Seco Branch Library.
And in the Saturday interview, Anna March talks with Salon editor and author Sarah Hepola about alcoholism and the distorted worldview that comes along with it. Hepola talks movingly about her blackouts, which became the “through line” in her memoir of the same name. A breakthrough comes when she realizes exactly who the “cool kids” are.
Meanwhile, Christine Sneed declares that the city at the core of her new book of fiction, Paris, He Said, “is sensuous and beautiful;” the French sensibility is “very attuned to beauty and quality.” In the Sunday Interview with Suzanne Clores, Sneed discusses her main character Jayne’s transition from college to adulthood and her development as a single, female artist in Paris.
Every year, the American Library Association releases a list of the top banned books in the country. But how do you determine which book is the most banned? The statisticians at FiveThirtyEight attempted to figure out exactly which book earned the crowning achievement of most banned book ever. The trouble, they found, is that even the most banned book one year might have been less fervently banned than books in previous years. One thing they did learn, though, was that banned books sell pretty well:
It may not be rigorous or even particularly accurate, but the ALA’s yearly list has drawn attention to many books. Perhaps as a result of that spotlight, “And Tango Makes Three” has been a huge hit, at least as far as books go. It has been debated on “The View.” A decade after it was published, customers still buy dozens of copies a day on Amazon. It has been translated into 11 languages and even turned into a play.
We’re doing another Letters for Kids giveaway! Win an awesome hardcover edition of the picture book Odd Duck, Signed by the illustrator (and writer of our next Letter for Kids) Sara Varon! Odd Duck was written by your Letters for Kids fearless correspondence coordinator Cecil Castellucci!
For a chance to win, comment on this post by July 1st recommending a great book for summer reading, and include the age group. Let’s help each other find great books for our kids to read! The winner will be announced on the Letters for Kids Facebook page on July 2nd.
Colleges and universities cannot be expected to solve America’s problems of inequity. They cannot repair broken families, or make up for learning deficits incurred early in childhood, or “level the playing field” for students with inadequate preparation. But they should be expected to try to mitigate these problems rather than worsen them—and one main reason they are failing to do so is their relentlessly rising cost.
For the New York Review of Books, Andrew Delbanco writes about how the current state of college education is especially damaging to those from low-income backgrounds.