Pulitzer Prize–winning author Adam Johnson talks about his new book, Fortune Smiles, fiction and voice, veterans and defectors, solar-powered robots and self-driving cars, and infrared baseball caps that can blind security cameras. ...more
The Boat is an interactive graphic novel based on the acclaimed story by Nam Le. The project unites hand drawn artwork, animation, text, sound, and archive to explore this important moment in history. ...more
I had to look back at the late nights when her voice has sung me out of sadness to sleep, back to those Saturday afternoons of my childhood, and ask myself what I had learned from her, as a musician and a woman....more
David Lipsky, whose book was recently adapted into the movie The End of the Tour, discusses his career as a writer and journalist as it’s evolved in the twenty years since his road trip with David Foster Wallace. ...more
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!
Saturday 10/3:J. Mae Barizo, Laurel Blossom, Patrick Ryan Frank, Rebecca Okrent, and Jonathan Wells present books from Four Way Press, along with Britt Melewski, curator of the FREE WATER series. KGB, 7 p.m., free.
There is a solution to the mystery of Gatsby’s lasting fame, as believers know, and to my mind that solution is voice. The elixir that transforms the novel’s inert matter into music—that turns its static iconography into poetry—is its first-person narration: the subtle, compounded, compromised voice of Nick Carraway. A voice of hope infused with despair, of belief corroded by doubt. A voice suave and dapper on its surface but roiled and dark in its depths. It is the inviting but evasive voice of a new best friend who draws you into his confidence and promises alluring secrets, only to turn away from you, agitated, distracted, and weary.
Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck has announced a new solo record, Warzone Earth, coming out exclusively on vinyl this October 16th from Little Axe Records. Buck announced Warzone Earth on the official R.E.M. website, calling it “the best solo album I have made.” According to Stereogum, the cover art will be designed by folk art legend Mingering Mike, and will feature Scott McCaughey, Bill Rieflin, Kurt Bloch, Chris Slusarenko, Krist Novoselic, Jeff Tweedy, Annalisa Tornfelt, Chloe Johnson, and Kristin Tornfelt. Watch a young Buck perform “Gardening at Night” with R.E.M. after the jump.
On Thursday, Guernica’s October issue went live with a fantastical tale of childhood by Sofi Stambo. “A Bunch of Savages,” which was chosen by Aimee Bender to win the Disquiet International Literary Program Award in fiction, follows a maybe gypsy, definitely poor family in Stambo’s native Bulgaria during communism. Poverty is apparent in the story, present in the neighbor lady’s cart of cardboard to recycle, in the constant lice and tick infestations on the children and family dog, but it isn’t dwelled upon. Instead, the story is full of whimsy, unexpected humor, and love.
Narrated through a child’s eyes—the eldest of the family’s three children—ordinary occurrences gain magical significance and folk tales are taken literally. (more…)
In 2005, students at Governors State University in Illinois lost a lawsuit claiming that their First Amendment rights had been violated over the censorship of the school newspaper, The Innovator. Staffers had written articles critical of the administration, and in response, the dean of students, Patricia Carter, literally stopped the presses. The Seventh Circuit court ruled in her favor.
The English tend to be reserved, reticent, but Shakespeare flows like a great river, he abounds in hyperbole and metaphor—he’s the complete opposite of an English person. Or, in Goethe’s case, we have the Germans who are easily roused to fanaticism but Goethe turns out to be the very opposite—a tolerant man… It’s as if each country looks for a form of antidote in the author it chooses.
With the rise of adult coloring books on bestseller lists comes an interesting intersection between the artists who create the books and the consumers who color them. Over at The Toast, Katherine Cusumano makes the case for the coloring book as a unique collaborative medium, a means to allow the everyman to engage with art actively:
The coloring book assumes that visual art is open-ended and incomplete. The raw material — the blank book — is the same across all individuals, but the output will never be the same…Coloring books can also allow audiences to interrogate what, exactly, defines “a serious artist.”