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Believer Now Accepting Classifieds

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Say you want to rant somewhere it’ll be seen. Or send a love letter, publicly. Or write short, realistic fiction in the form of ads about how your grandmother has been captured by neo-Nazi zombies demanding a large vat of non-kosher, organ-based meats in return for her safety.

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The Literary Underground

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Raphael Allison, at Guernica, fuses together his experience at this year’s MLA conference in Chicago with the subculture of the modernists in order to discuss the “crisis in the humanities”:

Mods and literary academics are caught between the allure of wildness, ingenuity, and nonconformity and the desire for some sort of stability, recognition, and achievement.

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A Journey to the Center of the Literary Canon

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In the Weekly Standard, Algis Valiunas debates the literary legacy of Jules Verne.

“William Butcher, the foremost English Verne scholar, boasts that his man is “the world’s most translated writer, the best-seller of all time, the only popular writer to have increased in popularity over more than a century.” Yet in the next breath the enthusiast bleats that too few know that Verne, in fact, reigns supreme in worldwide popularity and that all too few serious persons realize how serious Verne really is.

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Bill Murray and Me

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Always first aware not of the naked feeling itself but of the best way to phrase the feeling so as to avoid verbal repetition, you come to think of emotions as belonging to other people, being the world’s happy property and not yours—not really yours except by way of disingenuous circumlocution.

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Song of the Day: “Baby What You Want Me To Do”

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The distinctive tone of influential blues man Jimmy Reid can be heard throughout modern rock music, from Z.Z. Top to The Rolling Stones. In his hit song “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” from 1959, he sings, “You got me doing what you want me / So baby why you want to let go.” The passion and the subtext behind the words—which were written by his wife—have gotten our attention.

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Notable Portland: 7/17–7/23

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Thursday 7/17: The Newer York magazine hosts PDX Literary Madhouse, a night of live music, readings, free Rorshach tests, and even a chance to have someone write you a fictional bio. Readings by Andry Valetine, Sidra Quin, Brad Garber, Erica Sklar, Michael Magnes, A.M.

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Word of the Day: Nubivagant

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(adj.) wandering through or amongst the clouds; moving through air; from the Latin nubes (“cloud”) and vagant (“wandering”), c. 1656.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

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Rumpus Round-Up: The Fight to Unionize a Bookstore

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Late last month, employees of Book Culture, an independent New York City bookstore, voted to unionize. Five employees were promptly fired.

Punitively firing employees who participate in labor unions violates federal labor law. On July 2, the remaining workers went on strike in protest of the illegal firings.

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Ode to Malala

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Girls Write Now, an organization dedicated to offering creative opportunities to underserved and at-risk girls in New York City public high schools, just released a music video called “Ode to Malala.” The song is based on a poem written by one of the program’s participants, and honors Malala Yousafzai, the education activist from Pakistan who was shot walking home from school.

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Feminism Today

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At the Los Angeles Review of Books, editor and founder of Bookslut.com Jessa Crispin writes on feminism in its contemporary incarnation by way of two recent critiques of 50 Shades of Grey. She draws a distinction between feminism (a discourse) and feminism (a table-turning form of social domination) wherein “The bullied become the bullies [and the] abused become the abusers.”

Any sort of societal critique is thrown at a patriarchal straw man, as if all we have to do is get 50 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs to be female and an equal number of female bylines at The New York Times to have a better world.

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The Greatest Short Story of All-Time

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“Kipling,” says a psychiatrist friend of mine, “was always pretending to be something other than he actually was—which was a 10-year-old boy.” His work, the best of it, has a boy’s barbarism and a boy’s conservatism. “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” succeeds so spectacularly because it is, in a sense, written by that 10-year-old boy—by little Teddy, the quietest character in the story but the one with whose special boyish loves and terrors the narrative is saturated.

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Party of One

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Social media is a cruel machine, propelled by our desire to keep up appearances and affirmed by a strange, voyeuristic capital of likes and favorites. While Facebook can at times feel like a digital cocktail party devoid of any significant personal connection, Julia Fierro, author of Cutting Teeth, makes a case for its value to those who struggle with anxiety and loneliness:

It is socializing on my own terms.

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The Hawking Index

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The Hawking Index was created by mathematician Jordan Ellenberg to measure how much of a book readers were actually reading, by analyzing Amazon’s “Popular Highlights” feature on Kindle devices.

Over at the Guardian, writer and literary critic Alex Clark and columnist Tom Lamont debate whether it is truly important and necessary to get through a books in its entirety.

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Kickstarting “Desire”

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Yony Leyser, director of the documentary about William S. Burroughs, is making a feature film about Berlin’s queer community, and he needs your help to crowdfund it. Over at IndiewireLeyser explains his desire to deglamorize the city’s dark underground scene and explore what it means to be a member of a community whose definition is constantly in flux:

I go back and forth from being firmly committed to the “queer community” to being totally and completely disillusioned with the concept and diametrically opposed to it.

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