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
It’s well-known by the literary crowd that authors don’t get to choose the artwork for their book covers. Except when they do, as in the case of Naomi Jackson, author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, who convinced her publisher to use Sheena Rose’s painting “Too Much Makeup” as her cover:
I shrieked with joy when I saw the galleys of The Star Side of Bird Hill earlier this year. Sure, I was excited to have an advance copy of my first book in my hands. But more importantly, there was a thrill of recognition upon seeing a black girl on the cover of my book.
J.K. Rowling announced on Twitter that she is writing a new play to tell portions of Harry’s stories that the books skipped over. The new stage show include Harry’s parents, Lily and James Potter, but Rowling stressed it is not a prequel. The show will open in London in 2016.
“Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only reread it. When we read a book for the first time, the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation.”
–Vladmir Nabokov, from “Good Readers and Good Writers”
This week, Tim Parks takes us on a wonderfully meditative reflection on something we tend, as readers, to take for granted: the physical act of moving one’s eyes across the page, of engaging with words, and—unavoidably—forgetting them. The first reading of any text, Parks agrees with Nabokov, is “irrelevant”; we can only know a text through second, third, and so forth readings to “know the end of the story … and see how it is foreshadowed at the beginning, how the strands are spun and gathered together.”
The seminal chronicle of LA punk was re-released yesterday via Shout! Factory on DVD and Blu-Ray, bringing the three films by Penelope Spheeris together with additional archival footage into a comprehensive collection of possibly the best representation of punk, free of the exocitizing gloss that often wrecks documentaries of the kind before they’ve hardly begun. Spheeris, who also directed Wayne’s World, spoke with LA Record about why she sees this project as her most lasting and meaningful, beginning with the first film’s release in 1981. Decline I follows LA punk, Decline II covers LA metal, and III returns to the punks twenty years later. With performances by Germs, X, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Alice Cooper, and Ozzy Osbourne, the series is a definitive regional chronicle worth watching, regardless of your music loyalties. Watch the trailers for each installment after the jump. (more…)
Also for young readers: Books, Inc. presents “Not Your Mother’s Book Club,” featuring Tommy Wallach reading from his debut novel, We All Looked Up (a New York Times Bestseller), and performing original music as well. Free, 7 p.m., Books, Inc. at the Opera Plaza.
Government documents aren’t exactly page-turners, making hefty tombs like the 74,000 page tax code and the 33,000 page Obamacare law unlikely additions to any summer beach reading lists. The 1,200 page Department of Defense Law of War Manual might seem comparatively short, until you realize its a document that defines every military procedure from the very basic rules of conduct to the limits of torture. Liam O’Brien, over at Melville House, has decided to undertake the responsibility of reading the entire manual so you don’t have to. He plans on periodically checking in to keep us all informed about the book’s important points.
This decision, announced last week by Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, has been met with considerable puzzlement from those who wonder why we would demote Hamilton, the founder of our financial system, instead of Andrew Jackson, who was the architect of the Trail of Tears, an opponent of central banking, and the target of the grassroots campaign to get a woman on the twenty-dollar bill, led by the group Women on 20s. As Vauhini Vara recently wrote, some asked, too, why the first woman to appear on paper currency in the United States should have to do so alongside a male chaperone…
Even the animal kingdom is more progressive than the US. Penguins have been forming same-sex romantic relationships for as long as penguins have existed, and none of their compatriots ever batted a wing. The Dodo looks back at some of the most “aww”-inducing penguin pairs, because why not celebrate love with adorable pictures of birds?
When I got older, I discovered that this sense of play wasn’t limited to the young. There were plenty of adults out there writing radically experimental books formally guided by the notion that a book could be more than a book—it could be a vexing puzzle, a winding labyrinth, a stubborn gauntlet, a spooky carnival full of creaky rides, even a sandbox. It could be anything it wanted to be, subject only to the vision and craft of its creator.
Between celebrating how far we’ve come and preparing for how far we have to go, now is a good time to brush up on your queer literature. Over at Lit Hub, Rebecca Brill looks at “the evolution of the Great Gay Novel.”
After the Supreme Court ruling acknowledging the right to same-sex marriage was announced, musicians across the country have spent the weekend expressing their joy. Miley Cyrus said “thank you America for not cutting my chances to find true love forever and ever by 50%,” Madonna declared “The Revolution of Love has Begun,” and John Legend celebrated each of the rulings that came down this past week, saying, “Very happy about the SCOTUS rulings this week! Marriage Equality, Fair Housing and Affordable Health Care!” Alternative Press and Pigeons and Planes have also compiled messages of love from musicians in reaction to the landmark decision, and that just scratches the surface.
Recently, several novelists have criticized the primary curriculum in the UK for teaching a brand of creative writing that is too “complex.” For the Guardian, Ella Slater explains why she agrees with such criticism, arguing that her primary education has made writing simple and direct prose difficult:
As someone now struggling with keeping my prose simple and fluent, I can only say that I regret that the primary curriculum left so much to the secondary. If I had not had engraved in me a long-lasting fear of all things simplistic, I am certain that I would be a much better writer today.
Now, I was wondering if you could help me get something to eat. You wouldn’t be just handing me money to do whatever with — I know that’s a concern for some people. You could go with me to a store — wherever you want. And I wouldn’t ask you to do it all for me; I don’t want to ask too much. I have a dollar and thirty-five cents, and I’d put that towards whatever you bought. You’d be helping me, but I wouldn’t ask you to do the whole thing.
That’s a thing some people ask for, but I want you to know I’ll do my part.
In the latest installment of his “Field Notes from Gentrified Places” column over at McSweeney’s, Vinson Cunningham writes about San Francisco.