The Rumpus Book Club chats with Steve Stern about his new novel The Pinch, about what it means for Jews to be "people of the book," and how fiction and history can be entwined in entertaining and challenging ways. ...more
"Five Easy Pieces" is a Rumpus exclusive excerpt from the forthcoming 52 Men, with autobiographical portraits based on based on Lou Reed, Michael Stipe, Jonathan Franzen, Jay Carney, and Carter Vanderbilt Cooper. ...more
The Old Soak is a hauntingly one-note character, and one wonders exactly what about his alcoholism made him such a bankable franchise. Imagine the pitch meetings that followed: “He’s a lush, see? He wants to booze it up, but he can’t, because of that cursed eighteenth amendment!” Yuks ensue, contracts are signed, and everyone has a glass of whiskey.
The Paris Review looks back at humorist Don Marquis’s “The Old Soak,” an alcoholic character that isn’t as funny as he was intended to be.
We have a new Monthly Book Report coming out on Monday! If you haven’t already subscribed, today is the day. You don’t want to miss our roundup of the stellar fiction, nonfiction, and poetry reviews that went up on the site this past month—plus, we throw in a Rumpus Original Fiction story for good measure. Sign up now!
Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh‘s Lou Barlow is releasing his first solo record in six years, Brace the Wave, on September 4 via Joyful Noise. A full track list is available from Consequence of Sound, along with some advance knowledge of the record’s sound, such as that Brace the Wave was recorded with Justin Pizzoferrato (Pixies, Speedy Ortiz, J Mascis) in less than a week, and that a press release has announced that “a number of songs ‘employ his early methods of tuning his ukulele down low’… while others are ‘traditional-style folk’ numbers.” September and October tour dates are up, mostly coastal stops with a few European shows. Watch the album’s trailer after the jump.
The influential indie group Deerhunter have allegedly described their unique music as “ambient punk.” Founding member Bradford Cox—known also for his side project, Atlas Sound—provides eerily beautiful vocals to accompany compositions boasting everything from pop-friendly melodies to reverb-laden psychedelia. All this makes the more straightforward rock song “Fountain Stairs,” off Deerhunter’s record Halcyon Digest, more memorable for its cohesive guitars and tasteful, Lou Reed-esque vocals from Bradford Cox.
Thursday 7/30: Poets Kate Kingston and Carolyn Martin read from their latest work while accompanied by an artist talk by Lawrence Wheeler. Glyph, 5 p.m., free.
Rinker Buck read’s from his epic account of travelling the length of the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon with a team of mules, The Oregon Trail. Powell’s City of Books, 7:30 p.m., free.
Friday 7/31: A reading to celebrate the life and inimitable work of James Tate, who passed away earlier this month, features Graham Hunter Gregg, Emily Kendal Frey, Jeff Alessandrelli, James Gendron, A.M. O’Malley, Sara Guest, Chelsea Carpenter, Andrew Michael Roberts, Derek Hunter Wilson, Hajara Quinn, Mike Young, and Zachary Schomburg. A broadside of Tate’s poem, The Lovely Arc of a Meteor in the Night Sky, will be given away for free at the reading. Attendees are encouraged to bring and read one of their own favorite Tate poems. Mother Foucault’s Bookshop, 7:30 p.m., free.
I heard stories exactly like mine from men and women who were nothing like me at all, except we had stopped doing the thing that was killing us. My ache for better matched theirs and in this way, it was a group victory.
American libraries have always been a place for ideas and the exchange of knowledge. In recent years, libraries have invested in computers and other new technologies. One of those popular technologies has been 3-D printers. Now, libraries with those tools are operating at the forefront of modern manufacturing techniques. Pacific Standard takes a look at how 3-D printers are changing libraries, and a future where the institutions are the center of manufacturing.
So: Ideological freedom may have led us to worry, but the new ideology of individual liberty leads us right back to a conception of choice that denies the nature of human suffering. The mentally ill do not choose their agonies.
Her genre-defying fiction, from the mail-art chapbook The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula to incendiary novels like Blood and Guts in High Schooland Empire of the Senseless, were ways to think against every repression, to overturn the worlds—and words—of parents, gender, the academy, rationality, the traditional novel.
Beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss was a bit of a frat boy, the Washington Post claims. The author of dozens of quirky titles drew cartoons for the campus literary magazine and was caught drinking gin—in the middle of prohibition. The incident got him kicked off the publication.