Posts by: Sam Riley

Fall’s Rumpus Book Club Selections

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The Rumpus Book Club is proudly presenting Zipper Mouth, Laurie Weeks’s debut novel as our October pick. Published by the Feminist Press, it tells the story of a New York junkie, along with the “exalted night-club epiphanies” and “devastating morning-after hangovers.” And the book comes with a ringing endorsement from Michelle Tea. An excerpt was […]

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Defending Women Writers

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Roxane Gay’s on HTML Giant talking about the covers of chick-lit novels and the stigma attached to their formulaic visual coding, though the feminization of book covers is taking over more than just the chick-lit genre. It’s unfortunate that women writers have to consciously avoid being pigeonholed into chick-lit genre or are marketed via book […]

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Listen to This!

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In 1958 Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler discussed each other’s writing in this BBC interview. Being seasoned wordsmiths on the subject, they discuss what makes a British thriller versus an American thriller (apparently “thriller” is an elusive term), heroes and villains and frustrations with bestseller lists. This conversation is definitely worth a listen!

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Nabokov v. Wilson

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Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson academically quarrel in a series of letters, written to assuage the pain of illness that was afflicting them both. They’ve got a shared “literary curiosity,” but the specifics of their understanding of Western literature reveal that they mostly just disagreed. Still, witnessing the correspondence of two intelligent frenemies is worth […]

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On Portraying Sexual Violence

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The Millions has an essay on sexual violence and its literary and cinematic representations. Is it better to represent sexual violence through a code of silence, through allusions and subtlety or explicitly? Books and films that portray sexual violence diverge in these ways. There is an often-unspoken tension when it comes to praising representations of […]

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Once Banned, Now Loved

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Eve’s Diary, Mark Twain’s retelling of Adam and Eve, is back on Charlton, MA library shelves after a 105-year absence. The book was banned due to seemingly explicit illustrations (though they “now seem quite chaste”). Its return is timely—this Saturday marks the beginning of Banned Books Week, celebrating literary freedom. One-hundred years late is better […]

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Bush vs. Simpson and the American Family

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If you’re publicly expressing resentment towards America’s most beloved (animated) family, you should expect a response. Letters of Note published Marge Simpson’s response to Barbara Bush’s declaration that the Simpson’s was “the dumbest thing” she’d ever seen. The subject of what makes the ideal American family is a contentious one, but alas, there is always […]

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Bookstores, Community, Shoppers and More Community

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Here’s more fuel for the dialogue on brick and mortar bookstores and their integral role in creating and supporting the literary community. HTML Giant’s got a double dose of input on the subject—a video of Matthew Stadler delineating the difference between readers and shoppers, and an essay in The Stranger by Paul Constant, encouraging us […]

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Crosswords, Broken Down By a Professional

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Will Shortz, the puzzle mastermind behind the NY Times Crossword Puzzle, is revealing his strategies to the Atlantic. He goes through the whole process—fishing the right crossword from the submission slush pile, and then the major clue editing and revising that happens before the final puzzle in produced. (via the Millions)

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Why We Love Jackie O

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The tapes of Jackie O’s interview with Arthur Schlesinger, four months after her husband’s assassination were not supposed to be released until fifty years after her death. Her daughter Caroline Kennedy ended up releasing them early (the result of an ABC deal) and released them in a book, co-authored with the historian Michael Beschloss. Why […]

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No Moms in Prison in California

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California state prisons are releasing their female inmates that are mothers so they can serve the rest of their sentencing under house arrest. This is bold change for incarceration in California and a result of the overcrowded prisons. Read more here. “The program is ‘a step in breaking the intergenerational cycle of incarceration,’ state prisons […]

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TV’s Backwards Progress

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One would hope that there has been steady progress in terms of the presence of women writers in television, but a recent San Diego State study suggests quite the opposite. Their Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film quantifies the gender breakdown annually. The number of women writing for television’s broadcast network […]

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