[Boston] was a map out of the damage of my self-awareness and into some new evidence of beauty. Boston was my future and Adrienne Rich's new myths were waiting even for someone like me, a home boy from Harris County....more
Christopher Moore discusses his latest book, Secondhand Souls, the permanence of place in San Francisco, Michael Bay’s take on marine biology, and why everyone from Shakespeare nerds to goth teens trusts him to deliver laughs. ...more
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
I came first to film like a neighing kinsman. Anyone could snicker at my picks in the holiest of fresh fields, our Man Bites Dog cinema. We throw such company behind the flicker and produce art despite what it is, that’s the highest breach against who we really are humans might wing. It’s pure loud experience assembled by people eating craft services. On rare occasions, it’s okay that we’re not enough. I do what I’ll call filmic hamstrings for beloved Hobart. They are, to my knowledge, one of the very few journals willing to support a poet-y movie reviewer.
Even if I didn’t quite grasp the nature of my radical misreading of the novel—Humbert’s a predator, not a competitor—I understood that for the majority of readers it didn’t tend to provoke reactions like mine. How weird and fucked-up was I?
You see the problem. “Snob” is a category in which nobody would willingly, or at least unironically, claim membership. Like the related (and similarly complicated) term “hipster,” it’s what you call someone else.
At The New Inquiry, Alison Kinney examines the use of orphanhood in literature and what attracts readers to this narrative. She goes on to discuss the similarities and differences between orphans represented in literature, like Jane Eyre, and orphans in our real world:
Fairy tales of stolen infants resonate with those of us who come from countries where babies are trafficked, birth families cheated out of their custody, and in-country childless couples wish to adopt but are barred by the higher prices set on the international market. We’re angry at solutions that perpetuate the injustices and needs they purport to solve. We’re angry that many of us are indeed fictional orphans with falsified papers and origin stories, commodified by institutions which helped to destroy our birth families and make us orphans in the first place.
For the Los Angeles Review of Books, Larry S. McGrath writes about the growing role of neuroscience in writing new historical narratives. McGrath frames this discussion in a review of historian Lynn Hunt’s Writing History in the Global Era, looking particularly at her claim of a “biochemical revolution” in shaping the modern consciousness.
Guernica has an excerpt from an upcoming collection of letters and interviews by Elena Ferrante, Fragments: On Writing, Reading, and Absence, featuring some beautiful prose on the origins of writing, some slant-eyed answers to questions of identity, and brutal melancholia brought on by her work.
In a recent article about Ms. Lauryn Hill’s career, the artist’s producer Phil Nicolo told The Fader that he’s been working with her in the studio toward the completion of a long-awaited new album. Read the full article here, along with the Nicolo’s hints that the album seems to be harkening back to the sound of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
We ran a blog post earlier today about Alec Wilkinson’s pretty crap piece about Kenny Goldsmith in the New Yorker which we characterized as “refreshingly even-handed.” That description is only accurate if you define even-handed as a several-thousand word tongue-bath in the pages of a huge magazine which both ignored and dismissed many of Goldsmith’s critics. We apologize. We should have done better. Below are some of the responses, all of which are a better read than Wilkinson’s. (more…)
A Minnesota library has a unique new way for teenagers to pay off their late fines: reading. The St. Paul Public Library’s Read Down gives teenagers $1 off their fines for every fifteen minutes of reading.
We’re sending our next Letter for Kids from Nancy Cavanaugh! Nancy takes us on a field trip to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia—and includes color photos of the swamp so you’ll feel like you’ve actually been there!
And don’t forget—LFK is holding its very first writing contest! Send us a letter about what you like and don’t like about returning to school. The prize is a 6-month subscription to LFK! Plus, your letter will be linked to on our website so everyone can read it! You’ll also receive a signed, personalized copy of fearless correspondence coordinator Cecil Castellucci‘s newest book Journey to Star Wars: Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. Find the full details here.
Mensah Demary, Associate Web Editor for the new and exciting online literary outlet Catapult, shares his story of how he got to be where he is through a series of hilarious and depressing montages, with an overarching theme worth internalizing: “I don’t have the answers; I only have my life.”
Monday 10/5: It’s the first Monday of the month, which means you have your chance to strut your literary stuff in the Speakeasy/Open Mic Night! Sign-ups begin at 7:45 p.m., readings begin at 8 p.m. at The Last Bookstore.
Tuesday 10/6: David Davis discusses and signs his new biography Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku. 6:30 p.m. at Diesel Brentwood.
Annie Jacobsen discusses and signs The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top-Secret Military Research Agency. 7 p.m. at Vroman’s Bookstore.
Then, in the Saturday Essay, Amanda Choutka reminisces about her adolescence and growing up with an autistic younger sibling, whose favorite program was Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show. Each episode becomes a kind of nostalgic touchstone for specific moments from a bittersweet past. When her sibling grows up and the muppets make a comeback, Choutka is forced to construct a new identity for herself.
And Joe Meno’s new novel, Marvel and A Wonder, is the topic of the Sunday Interview with Margaret Wappler. The book, which began as a short story, distills some of the author’s experiences with male role models of an older generation. Meno and Wappler discuss Vietnam, Faulkner, and Toni Morrison, and the difficulty of writing a sympathetic villain. “But for you to understand [a] character you disagree with or don’t understand at first,” Meno argues, “you have to have this protracted, sustained experience with him.”
…it was a stark reminder that pliancy of media invites experimentation. When media is too locked down, too rigid, when it’s too much like a room with most of the air sucked out of it, stale and exhausting, the exploration stops. And for the intersection of books and digital there’s still much exploration to be had.