Legendary technomodernist William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, talks about his latest book, The Peripheral, predicting the future, and how writing about Silicon Valley today feels like his early work. ...more
This holiday season, give the gift of The Rumpus. We have plenty of holiday gift options for the well-read optimist or literary child in your life, and we're kicking things off with a Black Friday sale! ...more
All that floated there was the mystery. In the presence of all that, I discovered too that there are mysteries residing in the consciousness of my own mind that I don’t want to get out of the way of....more
The worst insult people hurl at adoptees is that they are “ungrateful” and should “go back” (to their “own” countries, to their old families). That is the moment when adoption becomes a gift—because that is the moment when it becomes clear that adoption belongs to people like the adoptive parent and not people like the adoptee. We shouldn’t want our birth families, our birth cultures. We should be thankful for being taken from the mothers who bore us. This idea of gratitude can ruin thankfulness. Why should we be grateful?
Magers & Quinn, an independent Minneapolis bookseller, has been open on Thanksgiving for the last thirteen years—mostly to provide employees without family in the area a place to be during the holiday. Working isn’t mandatory and the pay is time-and-a-half, but as big box stores begin creeping sales into the holiday, the local shop has faced criticism for their holiday tradition.
It was another reminder that I will surely die before I read all of my books, that my descendants will one day be forced to shovel through it all, skeptically asking one another, “Did he actually read all these?”
(On second thought, go ahead and finish those sweet potatoes.)
They have a swish sounding publisher. They write for the New Yorker or the Guardian. They’re overwhelmingly likely to have attended an elite university such as Oxford or Stamford. They have an MFA. It’s all indicative of one clear message: these people are smarter than you, so you should buy their book.
Genre fiction is popular and appeals to mass markets; literature is a highbrow pursuit with a limited audience. The smaller commercial appeal of literary novels is precisely why authors should stop focusing solely on literature, argues Damien Walter over at the Guardian. So why are literary writers so afraid of the genre label even when their books include classic genre features?
For Grist, Aura Bogado writes on recent developments in localized action against climate change. Bogado profiles the work of WE ACT (West Harlem Environmental Action) and its work in moving forward with a city-approved climate action plan to benefit these primarily black and Latino neighborhoods.
Today, world leaders are meeting in Paris to discuss how to address climate change, and many creative icons have signed a petition speaking for the “creative community” and its desire to spearhead dramatic and inspiring change. David Bowie, Björk, and Damon Albarn are just a few of the over three hundred artists who have signed the petition stating their concern “that our global economic and industrial systems are accelerating rates of extinction, desertification and soil depletion, degrading ecosystems, acidifying and littering our rivers and oceans.”
I walk in the city all the time. It’s not because of research; it’s a lifestyle. I like it. I belong to that city every time. You walk around to see your friends, to see your publisher, you go to an exhibition. I like my city. I belong there. The saddest thing would be to be cut away from it. I’ve lived all my life in Istanbul.
At the Public Domain Review, Sharon Ruston examines contemporary influences on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, specifically with regards to scientific developments in discovering the line between life and death.
First, Brandon Hicks allows us a peek into psychological disorders of the animal kingdom, the most elite bars in the world, and more in “Just Some Jokes.”
Then, in the Saturday Interview, our own Arielle Bernstein talks with blogger Josie Pickens about identity, gender, race, and class politics. The “uplifting” influence of readers on social media provides a source of hope during difficult times. Vulnerability, and the implicit disapproval of its expression, has served as motivation for Pickens. But, she admits that she “struggle[s] with titles” like “feminist.” She says, “In my heart I would like to identify as a human writer.”
Meanwhile, Sarah Einstein speaks with her “generous mentor” Kevin Oderman about his travel writing in the Sunday Interview. Oderman points to the conscious acknowledgment of his own otherness when playing the role of tourist. The traveler’s unique powerlessness elicits a sense of wonder. He argues: “…there are few enough places where you can scratch and not find blood, people being what they are.”
It doesn’t seem right to write a novel set in the contemporary that isn’t shot through with all this craziness.
For Electric Literature, John Freeman profiles Ben Lerner, MacArthur genius and author of books written by accident that revel in “privileged American self-involvement” and win both awards and the hearts of many.
Martin Kirk writes for Aeon on the paradoxical connection between economic growth and eliminating poverty. Kirk illustrates that increasing the size of the economic pie, by spending the world’s finite resources, with no change in distribution to impoverished populations, will not only not eradicate poverty in the near future, but will only accelerate the depletion of the natural world:
Every forest razed, every armament sold, every industrial pollutant created, even the profits from drugs and prostitution, all register as positive for GDP [the gross domestic product]. And so as we grow, so we destroy. Left unchecked, it can result only in the complete exhaustion of the sources of value, and indeed life, it draws upon.