Garth Greenwell discusses his debut novel, What Belongs to You, crossing boundaries, language as defense, and the queer tradition of novel writing that blurs boundaries between fiction and essay and autobiography. ...more
“It wasn’t until I was writing letters to my girlfriend, and describing to her my fellow Peace Corps volunteers and host-family members and long walks home through old Soviet collectivized farmland in what I would categorize as yellow-belt Wallaceian prose, that I realized how completely the book had rewired me.”
We’re getting ready to send out our next Letter in the Mail, and it’s from Summer Pierre! Summer sends us a beautifully illustrated letter about leaving her family to take a solo road trip to visit a friend. She shares the she has thoughts along the way, as well as her memories of road trips from her youth.
When you think of romance, you probably think Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, Gone With the Wind, Wuthering Heights—or anything by Nicholas Sparks if you’re into more modern fare. These famous love stories, spread across centuries, have one thing in common: they’re all about heterosexual couples. Matthew Griffin’s debut novel, Hide, is helping change that narrative with a rich and tender tale of a life-long love between two men. The novel isn’t out till February 16th, but this week Electric Literature gives us a first taste with a stand-alone excerpt titled “The First Summer,” which is a powerful story all by itself.
Wendell and Frank first met when Frank, freshly home from World War II, walked into Wendell’s taxidermy shop in a small North Carolina town. Needless to say, it wasn’t an era or a place that accepted two men in love, and Frank and Wendell retreated to a sparsely populated island to spend their first summer together, away from prying eyes. (more…)
PJ Harvey has released another video from her upcoming album, The Hope Six Demolition Project, which will come out April 15th on Vagrant. The video for “The Wheel” was filmed in Kosovo and London, as NPR reports, and documents the singer’s work with her collaborator, Irish director Seamus Murphy, examining Europe’s recurring crises of war, ethnic conflict, and refugees. Watch the video after the jump.(more…)
‘‘The great tradition of black art, generally,’’ he started again, ‘‘is the ability—unlike American art in general—to tell the truth. Because it was formed around the great American poison, the thing that poisoned American consciousness and behavior: racism. And black culture, such as it is, was formed around a necessary resistance to this fundamental lie. That’s the obligation. And this is the power that black art has.’’
We’re sending our next Letter for Kids from Lois Sepahban! Lois writes about all the animals that have shared her life with her, including a very special dog named Strider, an Australian Shepherd that walked her to the bus stop each morning and met her there every day when she came home from school.
Rare books are harder to find than many amateur collectors think, and its more probable that buying old books leads to hoarding rather than a big payday. Its highly unlikely, for instance, for a library to accidentally sell off an expensive treasure, since most institutions check books against databases before selling off their stock. Most books just aren’t worth very much except as personal nostalgia. Ann Connery Frantz recommends readers interested in rare books stick with dealers instead of hoping for the best at thrift shops.
Is your big break finally coming? Will you get that novel finished? Are you about to be struck over the head with a mallet of inspiration? All of these questions answered and more, in your February 2016 writer’s horoscope.
In a somewhat romantic and educational gesture towards the Valentine’s Day season, McDonald’s is giving away books with their Happy Meals between Feb. 2 and Feb. 15. Titles include Paddington, Clark the Shark Takes Heart, Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!, and Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day Is Cool.
If you’ve just been dying for Pink Floyd to get back together, Governor Kasich is talking to you: the primary candidate has pledged to do his best to reunite Roger Waters and David Gilmour if he’s elected President. Watch a video of Kasich discussing his Pink Floyd action plan after the jump. (more…)
Behold Jonathan Franzen, opening his book trailer for Freedom with the words: “This might be a good place for me to register my profound discomfort at having to make videos like this.” Behold Slate editor Gabriel Roth, who transformed the trailer for his novel The Unknowns into a comment on the existential futility of book trailers. “Look, it’s my novel,” Roth tells the camera. “I can’t sum it up for you in like 30 seconds.” Behold The Love Song of Jonny Valentineauthor Teddy Wayne, pretending to lift the veil on book trailer production hell, protesting “No, I told you guys I don’t want to do this” as a Teddy Wayne bobblehead in the bottom-left corner of the frame hawks cheap-o Jonny Valentine merch. “Can you imagine James Joyce—” the real Wayne begins, then hopelessly chugs his beer.
So I had a thought about writing a book for the elderly, the old. Those who have lost their words more comprehensively than the friends around our lunch table, but haven’t lost themselves entirely. A book about where all the words go, where after a time they find the others and collaborate to make sentences.
The Allman Brothers have had a long and tumultuous run since their formation in 1971 around a core group including Duane and Gregg Allman. The death of Duane in a motorcycle accident that very year could have broken up the band forever, but instead, it led to a highly creative period that produced epochal southern rock records like Eat A Peach—named after the type of truck that had killed their founding member—and Brothers and Sisters. The addition of pianist Chuck Leavell gives the single “Ramblin’ Man,” off the latter album, a rollicking spirit that perfectly complements the Allmans’s signature duo of lead guitars. “Ramblin’ Man” has since become an anthem for the restless and travel-worn and a signpost for the particular tributary of American Southern music that the group helped to develop.
Thursday 2/4: Tell It Slant and Late Night Library present a night of the Strange and Fantastic, featuring magical realism readings by Anna Doogan, Marjorie Sandor, and visiting author Kelly Luce. Alberta Street Pub, 7 p.m., free.
Portland’s new literary journal The Timberline Review celebrates its latest edition release party with a reading, including some of this issue’s contributors Kim Stafford, Jeanne Krinsley, Gina Ochsner, Jack Estes, Wayne Scott, Jennifer Dorner, and Julie Young. The Vault, 7 p.m., free.
Local author Tim Hicks reads from latest novel on climate change, Last Stop Before Tomorrow. Another Read Through, 7 p.m., free.
Swift sweeping clusters of revelation! Plunging into pockets of the earth’s belly, and Shooting up into the blue and white woven infinity of the sky!
Walt Whitman, author of Leaves of Grass and Song of Myself, is famous for his exuberant and sensuous poetry about life itself, but what about life on a rollercoaster? Over at McSweeney’s, Maxwell Cohn has a hilarious take on how Whitman might pen an ode to the rollercoaster.