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
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.
In the six years since her first sketches of a woman connecting with the bridge, Mainstone has managed to enlist the enthusiastic support of industrial engineers, audio researchers, physicists, software designers, university departments, and Andy Cavatorta, the inventor of Björk’s Gravity Harp. “She’s showing me pictures of bridges and it’s like she’s showing me porn,” Cavatorta told me, recalling a meeting at Mainstone’s studio in London. “She’s excited and she’s whispering, ‘Look at this one,’ like this is some weird guilty pleasure of hers.”
In memory of Dieter Moebius who passed away last week, the Guardian published an article tracing the artist’s immense influence on experimental music, from his work in Cluster and Harmonia through his solo projects. “‘I was more of the ‘flippy’ one,’ he joked when I interviewed him for Frieze in 2012,” writes the author of the piece. Moebius continued the interview, saying, “Still am. That works a lot with rhythms. ‘Flippy’, that’s German. I guess it means crazy or something.” Read about and listen to five great songs from his long-spanning career, which is most definitely worth celebrating.
Independent Irish publisher Tramp Press requests that writers submitting manuscripts list their influences. Co-founder Sarah Davis-Goff had a suspicion that she was only seeing male names among the influencers, so she tallied up the influences of 100 submitters. Only 33 percent of the listed influences were women writers. Davis-Groff says:
If a writer lists two influences and they both happen to be male – well, fair enough. They never both happen to be female, though, and receiving list after list of five, seven, 10 or more male influences is disturbing. It points again to the larger issue in the industry: our habitual, unchecked dismissal of the experiences, viewpoints and brilliant work of women.
E-books are proving unpopular for independent bookstores. Amazon’s juggernaut Kindle device is only available from the online retailer, but independent bookstores can still sell e-books through devices like Kobo. But the Denver Post has found that customers of indie bookstores just aren’t buying e-books.
Wednesday 7/29: If you have the time to get in line early, you can meet former President Jimmy Carter at Books Inc., Opera Plaza, where he’ll be signing copies of his new memoir, A Full Life: Reflections at 90. Free, 4:30 p.m., Books Inc., Opera Plaza.
But actually, part of what I think Lipsky wanted was to have a good, long, conversation, one of those talks that lift you out of your regular life and into another mode of being, the way a really good book can.
Though we may have recoiled at the thought, we might as well reconcile ourselves to the existence of The End of the Tour. At Electric Literature, Julie Buntin—a former student of David Lipsky—shares her thoughts on the movie, from her initial disgust to her begrudging appreciation, focusing on the fact of the movie as an exploration in conversation: “our original, ephemeral method for banishing loneliness.” She leaves us with the thought that, okay, fine, maybe we should give the movie a chance.
Reliable vigor and stamina is also required to teach a class or run a workshop, and so I had to give up teaching several years ago. But I miss being in touch with serious prentice writers.
So in in hope of regaining some of the pleasures of teaching and talking about writing fiction with people who do, I’m going to try an experiment: a kind of open consultation or informal ongoing workshop in Fictional Navigation, here on Book View Café.
Tomorrow Rumpus columnist Allyson McCabe will begin hosting “FM Mutations,” a new radio show on Bridgeport, CT station 89.5 FM WPKN (and online at WPKN.org). Every 5th Wednesday of the month from noon till 1 p.m. Allyson will spin rock, punk, and indie gems—mostly demos, covers, outtakes and other rarities. And on Sunday August 9th from 5:30-7 p.m. Allyson will also be hosting a special edition of the show she’s calling “Lonely Space Traveler”—a riff on the above with tunes and found sound all spun together in an experimental audio montage.
Allyson’s first playlist will include tracks from The Slits, The Velvet Underground, White Reaper, and others. You can also hit her up for requests by visiting the show on Facebook or by leaving her a broadcast-ready voicemail at (347) 394-0022. If you call, don’t forget to include your first name, where you’re calling from, the title and artist of the song you’d like to hear, and maybe a few words about why you love the track. All of the FM Mutations shows will be archived for on-demand listening on the show’s Facebook page, on the WPKN archive, and on Allyson’s site.
For Electric Literature, Emma Adler interviews Kathleen Alcott about her new novel Infinite Home. Their conversation covers topics surrounding non-biological family structures, and the importance of setting in Alcott’s work:
I have a memory that is very much image-based. Maybe this makes me sound like a lunatic, but I sort of consider it a secret power, that I can be in line at the deli and suddenly be very much confronted by a very clear image of a place I was once, can conjure the texture of the t-shirts people I loved wore, the color of the kitchen tile, the particular type of tree… I tend to attach to these sort of environmental details, and so sitting down and writing a fictional place, I’m “seeing” in the same way.
Hether Fortune’s latest single premiered this weekend, the first from the upcoming Wax Idols record American Tragic, slated for release this October on Collect Records. The track, “Lonely You,” has been described as “a cathartic breakup song” by The FADER, “liv[ing] in a grim, melodic sweet spot between total bummer and feel-good sing-a-long, with a hook that sounds better suited for fist-pumping post-trauma than wallowing in the thick of it.” (more…)
Not only does the album fulfill many specific qualities of postmodernism, and postmodernism specifically shaped by black experience, but also does so within a form traditionally consigned to canonical, usually white, “masters” like Melville and Pynchon.