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Been Here Before

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After years of anxious separation, people are finally relaxing about the literary/genre fiction divide. Over at Electric Literature, Tobias Carroll asks: now what?

We’re now well into a period where literary writers are able to balance their love for horror (or science fiction, or fantasy) with their craft, and fewer and fewer bat an eye…But now that we’ve gotten past that, there’s another question raised by fiction that falls into the realm of, for lack of a more graceful term, literary horror: how does it deal with our expectations of both of its literary forebears?

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The Market Decides

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In the midst of debate over Amazon’s place in the publishing industry, Margo Howard raises questions about the authority of its consumer-based literary criticism. When it comes to art, the retail giant’s capitalist-populist approach may do more harm than good:

These people were not reviewing my book, they were reviewing me.

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The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks co-creator Mark Frost is working on a novel based on the early 90s television series. The news comes shortly after Showtime announced plans to revive the series in 2016.

According to a press release from publisher Flatiron Books, The Secret Lives of Twin Peaks “reveals what has happened to the people of that iconic fictional town since we last saw them 25 years ago and offers a deeper glimpse into the central mystery that was only touched on by the original series.”

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One and The Same

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Nosy readers often delight in sleuthing out the parallels between an author’s work and their life, as if an identifiable autobiographical source might change the meaning behind the words. So what happens when authors eliminate the boundary altogether?

By calling these books novels you might say that Coetzee is holding onto a fig leaf.

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A Modern-Day Typewriter

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The personal computer may have revolutionized the way writers write, but distractions from the Internet and social media may not make it the ideal tool for writing. Designer Adam Leeb has created a hybrid typewriter called a Hemingwrite. Long battery life, instant on, and a mechanical keyboard help make Hemingwrite feel more like a typewriter or word processor, but with one key distinction—cloud connectivity backs up and syncs documents to services like Google Docs.

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Author Roboto

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At Melville House, Liam O’Brien delves into the fictional and factual history of book-writing computers, from Roald Dahl’s “The Great Automatic Grammatizator” to the Russian computer that rewrote Anna Karenina in the style of Murakami. With some media outlets already using bots to pen articles, he wonders if the robots will be coming for literature next.

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Another Story to Guide You

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Over at the New Yorker, Etgar Keret and Sayed Kashua continue their conversation:

I believe that this despair is temporary, and that even though there are quite a few political elements that would rather see us despairing, and even though it sometimes seems as if enormous forces are working to convince us that hope is just another word in our national anthem and not a powerful force that can lead to change, people feel deep down that the terrible situation we find ourselves in is not really the only dish on the regional menu.

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Notable Los Angeles: 10/20–10/26

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Monday 10/20: Joe Perry signs Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith. 7 p.m. at Book Soup.

Lauren Cobb reads from Boulevard Women. 7:30 p.m. at Skylight Books.

Tuesday 10/21: Dan Jones presents and signs The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors.

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Using Language to Combat Violence

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Feminism needs stronger language to combat violence against women, argues Jacqueline Rose in the Guardian. Fourth-wave feminism must confront the issue of male-on-female violence globally, crafting new language “that allows women to claim their place in the world.” She points to various forms of violent oppression women face regularly, from genital mutilation to rape as weapons of war.

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Notable NYC: 10/18–10/24

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Saturday 10/18: Poetry Forum 2014. The New School, 10 a.m., $45 daily / $135 full pass.

Melissa Buckheit reads poetry along with Corollary Press founder Sueyeun Juliette Lee. Berl’s Poetry Shop.

Happy fifth anniversary Greenlight Bookstore. Celebrate all day, party at night.

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The Efficacy of Words

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The truth is that the horror of being eaten outpaces the horror of death by any other means. Microbe, animal, another human: being consumed feels sharper, entirely visceral. But why?

Over at Guernica, Lance Richardson writes on Peter Gorman’s Ayahuasca in My Blood: 25 Years of Medicine Dreaming, an ethnographic account of his experiences  in the Amazon.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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As the story goes, nearly 100 years ago a group of Surrealist artists gathered together and put a new spin on an old parlor game called Consequences. The meeting resulted in their collective authorship of this phrase: “The/ exquisite/ corpse/ will/ drink/ the/ young/ wine.” Now familiar to many writers by the name of “Exquisite Corpse,” the game requires at least three participants who send round a single sheet of paper on which each member, looking only at the entry that came before him or her, makes a written or drawn contribution, folds over the paper, and passes it on to the next person.

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On Social Capital and Staying Hidden

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Meander to Hazlitt for Linda Besner’s recent reading of Alfred Hermida’s Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Besner’s critique is particularly concerned with the role of anonymity in a new, social-media-dominated landscape:

Social media, in other words, is a gift economy, in which we share information both in the expectation that others will share important information with us and in the hopes of increasing our social capital .

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