Most first novels are really second novels, since most first novels go unpublished. Writing for ZYZZYVA, Rumpus contributor Aaron Gilbreath talks through his experience having his debut memoir rejected, eventually leading an agent to suggest he write a novel instead:
He wasn’t telling me to call a novel a memoir, or to capitalize on a hot genre.
When my grandmother taught me to make banana pancakes, which we did every Wednesday night through much of my childhood, she would counsel “Hold the bowl” as I stirred, which became, in our letters to each other, code for “I love you.”
Might cooking for another person be considered an act of love?...more
Is it work, though? The question persists. Is a single muscle exerted during the process? Do you sweat at all, besides the weird thing that sometimes happens under your right arm because you haven’t lifted it up for 8 hours?
Friday 4/18: Angie Chuang, Assistant Professor of Journalism at American University School of Communication, reads from and discusses her book The Four Words for Home, documenting a five-year journey comparing a family’s life in Afghanistan to her own family’s struggles in Taiwan....more
Gabriel Garcia Marquez died yesterday at home in Mexico City. 87 years since his birth in Aracataca, CO, “Gabo” Marquez has written over twenty novels and short story collections. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and may have been the most important Latin-American writer of the last century....more
Brooklyn has two independent Community bookstores—Park Slope’s Community Bookstore and Cobble Hill’s The Community Bookstore. John Scioli, owner of the latter, tells MobyLives that he founded the original with his ex-wife before they split. Scioli goes on to talk about life as a bookstore owner:
These days, The Community Bookstore is open when Scioli decides it will be—usually opening its doors in the afternoon and closing around 11pm.
Science fiction has a hefty brilliance to contribute to the literary world, but people often scoff at it as light, genre fiction. The Atlantic explores why science fiction is just as, if not more, relevant than non-genre fiction.
Science fiction, I’ve always felt, is part of that fantastical tradition.
We’ve all felt a little bit guilty saving a few pennies buying from Amazon rather than our neighborhood independent bookseller. But what about Amazon employees—do they experience guilt when shopping at independent retailers rather than with their megastore employer? MobyLives speculates as to how hypothetical Amazonians might answer that question....more
At one time, irony served to reveal hypocrisies, but now it simply acknowledges one’s cultural compliance and familiarity with pop trends. The art of irony has lost its vision and its edge. The rebellious posture of the past has been annexed by the very commercialism it sought to defy.
Thursday 4/17: Portland State University presents My Walk Has Never Been Average: A Staged Reading, based on a collection of interviews with Black tradeswomen. Lincoln Studio Theatre, doors open at 5:30 p.m., reading 6 – 7:30 p.m. Free to PSU students; all others are $7 in advance, $10 at the door....more
Let us now discuss Victorian era bathing machines.
There is literally no way you don’t want to look at these pictures of a 13-year-old Mongolian eagle huntress....more
Seventeen years ago I wrote a book, which you can find on Amazon and Google and elsewhere online. This is unusual only because my book was never published.
Jason K. Friedman writes in the New York Times about his book the almost, sort of, but never really was, and its long-lasting Internet identity....more
Writing for The New Inquiry, Hannah Black explores race in Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird and the relationship of white, black, and mixed racial identities in modern western culture.
Similarly, race-authenticity does not spring up from the mere fact of certain physical features—it has to be mined from others.
In the spirit of Orwell, Saunders, and M.T. Anderson, see here for a glimpse at the future of social media: virtual reality dates, sensory augmentation, robots writing on humans in peer-reviewed journals.
Sensory augmentations will make possible ever-deeper transports of desire, as we use technology to expand beyond our biological bodies, while machines increasingly anticipate all our needs.
Take a look at this review of Michael Lewis’s Flash Boys over at The Millions. There’s something endearing about Lewis’s project to unmask and reveal:
The task Lewis sets for himself in Flash Boys is to pry the American financial system loose from those black boxes and reimagine it for us on a human scale.
Michael Nye, managing editor of The Missouri Review, explains some of the costs required to start and operate a literary journal. Financial issues are the fastest way to kill a journal, but money also creates a divide between writer and editor:
In small presses and literary magazines, the disconnect between writers and editors often comes down to money.
The next Weekly Rumpus features fiction from Rebecca Gummere. Here’s an excerpt:
Swing your arms, stretch a little. Keep walking and untie the sweater. Think about how much you hate it, how the shade makes you look like you are recovering from flu.
Ever droll, Sadie Stein writes in the Paris Review about the reaction we’re (all) prone to have when people recommend literature based on our professed likes and dislikes:
When someone says I will like something, I tend to assume the something in question will be precious, tedious, and often aggressively eccentric.
We know Bishop primarily as the eager traveler who wrote of distant, tropical locations and lived for many years as an expat in Brazil. She was that, of course, but she was also an aficionado of her native landscape and climate.
Does the “Great American Novel” actually exist—or is it just the name of a book by Philip Roth? Over at the New Yorker, you can read Adam Gopnik’s review of The Dream of the Great American Novel by Laurence Buell, and you can also listen to Elizabeth Gilbert, Adam Gopnik and Sasha Weiss discuss what the term has evolved to mean....more
I will never get tired of 50 Watt’s ongoing 70s and 80s cosmic Japanese art series.
Let’s all go to the 1982 World’s Fair!
Cuttlefish are kinda the best dudes....more