Aliza Licht, former SVP of Communications for Donna Karan International, talks about her debut career guide, what she wishes she knew when she was starting out, and how to build an audience on Twitter. ...more
In Episode 34 of The Rumpus’s Make/Work podcast, host Scott Pinkmountain speaks to Joy Castro about her unorthodox writing process, the course of her career, and the distinctions between literary and commercial fiction. ...more
The poorer areas of Bogota, Colombia have limited access to books, due to not being close-by to any of the city’s libraries. José Gutierrez, a 53-year-old garbage collector, began rescuing thrown-away books 20 years ago, creating a makeshift library for the community in his house. He is now known as “Lord of the Books,” and the collection has over 20,000 books.
Bob Dylan’s jump to electric turned fifty this past Sunday, and to celebrate the milestone Consequence of Sound interviewed two of the session musicians who worked on recording the album. One of the musicians, Harvey Brooks, remembers Dylan’s songwriting style:
He’s writing by instinct…It all came out of his mind. As he was receiving it, he transferred it right into his chords. That’s why the changes aren’t so locked in. It’s kind of the same way old blues singers used to do it. They do things by the phrasing, and Dylan’s a great phraser. That’s really what we were doing subconsciously. There’s all different kinds of ways to play….You can play on the beat, in front of the beat, behind the beat, playing in the pocket, a little out of the pocket. Highway 61 was the beginning of me thinking about all those kinds of things.
If you’re a woman over the age of 25, you are familiar with the pressure to procreate. The parental inquiries of when you’ll be settling down, when you’ll give them grandkids. The friends on Facebook popping out babies like clockwork. And if you’re married, the judgment-loaded questions from anyone you’ve barely met: Do you have kids? Oh, why not? Recently, women (and men) have been pushing back against the assumption that everyone wants children, in places like the Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed anthology edited by Meghan Daum, and also in short fiction. Enter “The Surrogate” by Caille Millner, this week’s release from Joyland.
“The Surrogate” begins like this:
Cecily is six months pregnant with someone else’s child when her husband tells her that he wants a baby of his own. It’s not a complete surprise — if he never grew jealous of all the other babies she’s carried, she’d wonder.
Cecily is a surrogate. She’s had a several babies for other people, but none of her own. One of the most revolutionary aspects of the story is that Cecily displays absolutely no sentimental attachment to the fetus she carries in her body. (more…)
Four sisters, each vivid, but composed, really, of just a few brushstrokes. Here, neatly categorized for us before we’ve made it out of the first chapter, are four different ways of being a girl. There’s something tempting about this drawing of lines.
For the Ploughshares blog, Clare Beams discusses why Little Women continues to appeal to readers over a century after it was written.
At the Atlantic, Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House, discusses her struggle with writing about Detroit without having lived there, and how Zora Neale Hurston’s work helped her give herself permission to write outside her own experiences:
It’s not about having a background that lines up with the characters you’re writing about, I realized. That’s not the responsibility of the fiction writer. Instead, you have the responsibility to be sympathetic—to have empathy. And the responsibility to be knowing—to understand, or at least desire to understand, the people you write about.
The Captain Underpants series has topped banned book lists around the world. Dav Pilkey, the author of the popular children’s books, explains what it feels like to have written a famous banned book:
People often ask me how I’d want to respond to those critics who would rather see my books pulled from shelves than handed to young readers. I do have an answer, and it boils down to the fact that not every book is right for every person. Some grown-ups are not amused by the kinds of things that make most children laugh, and so they try to stomp those things out.
I want to get to why this grumbly, axe-grinding, British review of Vendler relates to two trends I see now in American poetry—the confusion over the critic’s role and the rise of literary teams—but first, the question that’s probably foremost on your mind: does Daniel Swift have a case?
Many of the best books in classic literature innovated some aspect of storytelling, but few can claim to have ventured into tinkering deeply with language itself. Over at Lit Hub, Stephen Sparks writes on some of the best books that have created their own languages. To “inhabit languages unique [to the book],” Sparks argues, is to attempt to capture “the singular nature of consciousness”
Do go for the etymological dictionary for epithets that feel historical: like, membrum virile, arbor vitae (from the late 18th century, for a type of evergreen shrub), wrinkly (early 15th century) or bole (early 14th century, from Old Norse bolr meaning tree trunk).
Morrissey has spoken out against Australia’s plan to cull two million feral cats by 2020, calling the animals “two million smaller versions of Cecil the lion,” reports the Guardian.
According to Australia’s environment minister, feral cats are responsible for killing an extraordinary number of native species each day, contributing significantly to Australia having the worst mammal extinction rate in the world. His office has called the estimated twenty million feral cats living in Australia a “tsunami of violence and death,” and, as a solution, has blended a special poison for the two million cats it plans to exterminate. (more…)
Fear of terrorism has frightened the British Library into rejecting a cache of digital archives and other documents relating to the Taliban, reports the Guardian. The archive includes more than 2 million translated words, but accepting the documents might violate Britain’s anti-terror laws. The archive included newspapers, magazines, books of Sharia law, and poetry.
Australian musician Kevin Parker’s band, Tame Impala, is known for blending musical influences like psychedelia and lo-fi, but Parker’s proficiency as a songwriter only adds to his resume. On “The Less I Know The Better,” off the album Currents, a catchy bass line propels Parker’s voice as he sings about his longing for another man’s partner:
She said it’s not now or never Waiting years we’ll be together I said better late than never Just don’t make me wait forever