Fascinated by The Brick Bible, Professor Kevin Griffith of Ohio’s Capital University has had his 11-years-old son Sebastian recreating in LEGO bricks 100 scenes from David Foster Wallace’s masterpiece Infinite Jest. Griffith explained to The Guardian:
“I would describe a scene to him and he would recreate it in a way that suited his vision.
Wilco has seen its fair share of adversity. The group, led by songwriter Jeff Tweedy, has picked up and dropped band members at various times between 1994 and 2004. However, its current iteration feels right. That cohesion is evident in the stirring artistic manifesto, “What Light,” from their Grammy-nominated 2007 album, Sky Blue Sky. Over a perfect harmony, Tweedy sings:
If the whole world’s singing your songs
And all of your paintings have been hung
Just remember what was yours is everyone’s from now on
And that’s not wrong or right
And you can struggle with it all you like
You’ll only get uptight
There’s a light
Inside of you
More than 5 percent of the messages a woman receives online will be abusive or derogatory in nature, on average. Piers Morgan, whom researchers rank as the No. 1 receiver of hate tweets per day, gets 8.4 percent negative comments — putting him not that far ahead of the average female journalist when it comes to fielding vitriol....more
Alexandra Wuest, writing at HTMLGIANT, looks at the distinction between procrastination and the useful distraction that is a necessary part of the creative act:
Somewhere between the initial conception of an idea and the completion of the project exists a murky abyss of abstraction in which the horizon line is hidden–or may not even exist.
We’ve solved the mystery of Death Valley’s sailing stones (which was a thing I guess)....more
Researches are taking advantage of the Edinburgh International Book Festival to look for the source of authors’ inner voice. Many writers describe hearing characters’ or narrators’ voices speaking to them. The researchers are looking to establish what the inner voice sounds like and how authors tune into it, reports The Guardian:
Early on in their writing life, there may be little to distinguish the inner voice of the author from the voice of the character.
When the The New York Times asked for his background, Ben Lerner answered the best he could:
“Suburban-white-kid crime, Columbine High School sort of thing,” he said. “A violence of numbness and identitylessness.”
In the Parul Sehgal’s piece, the author of Leaving the Atocha Station also touches on parenthood, Joan of Arc, and his upcoming novel, “10:04”....more
Printing pricing information on book covers has long been a standard practice to help track inventory. The suggested pricing also helps increase the perceived value of books. The internet, especially Amazon, has changed that perception of value leading some booksellers to question the pre-printed price information....more
(n.); admiration of a particular part of the body
ALS constitutes progressive imprisonment without parole. First you lose the use of a digit or two; then a limb; then and almost inevitably, all four.
—Tony Judt, Night
The human body is beautiful; this has been an accepted truth throughout the ages and can be observed everywhere in art, literature, science, and even in daily discussion....more
Librarian Justin Wadland attempts to answer the question “What is the future of libraries?” at the Los Angeles Review of Books by reading three recent books about them. He suggests the future of libraries depends on our relationship with them. He also explains that the question is in no way simple:
Flooded with data as we are, each day brings even more innovations and technologies to help us mine, sort, and generate even more information.
Wednesday 8/27: San Francisco Poet Laureate Emeritus Jack Hirschman recently uncovered a book-length poem that’s been lost for more than 40 years, will read from the newly published Viet Arcane. Free, 7 p.m., The Emerald Tablet.
The Berkeley Poetry Slam prepares for The Individual World Poetry Slam, in Phoenix this October; the top eight poets battle to see who will rep the team: Toaster, Leo Bryant, Jaz Sufi, Nazelah, Cam Awkward-Rich, B Deep, Jelal, and Abe Becker....more
Writing and revising can be challenging under the best of circumstances, but imaging being unable to see the words on the page. At The Airship Daily, Tammy Ruggles writes about her life as a visually impaired writer:
Before the computer age, the visually impaired could dictate their words to be set down in print or use a stylus to write in braille and have it transcribed, but today’s accessible technology makes writing so easy that you may not realize I used a screen reader, speech recognition software and a magnification program to write this
Writers Rivka Galchen and Zoë Heller, over at The New York Times, discuss the question that will never go away: can writing be taught? They raise valid points about whether teaching writing is fundamentally different from teaching something like science and the rigid way American high schools teach essay writing....more
On August 18, hip-hop and comic book nerds alike convened to celebrate the release of Volume 2 of Ed Piskor’s The Hip-Hop Family Tree, a history of the genre in graphic novel-form. In the Daily Beast, Daniel Genis explains how the competing personae and one-upsmanship among rappers translate so easily to a medium that often depicts superhero fights....more
Stop the presses: there is a new wooliest sheep.
Why do your fingernails grow so much faster than your toenails? (Spoiler alert: we don’t know.)
Today in nightmares: inside a doll hospital....more
We’re getting ready to send out our next Letter in the Mail, and it’s from poet David Roderick! In this 10-page missive, Dave gets back in touch with his handwriting skills while enjoying a new bookstore in his town. He writes to us about his children, his surroundings, his secret morning exercise, and of course, poetry....more
“We’re doing this because we’re buds and we’re starting new books. We’ve always talked our ideas through with each other; it’s always helped. Through these conversations, we’ve grown as writers together.”
Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey have been longtime friends. Now, both with new novels on the way, they have embarked on a five day trip through America to talk about their writing....more
Florida Polytechnic University has just opened, in a building designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, a completely bookless library. Available to all the students is a catalog of 135,000 e-books that can be consulted in an impressive, completely empty room equipped with internet connections and librarians to help the students....more
Scenario: you are on the train, you are sitting across from a man in a baseball cap reading, say, White Teeth, and in a matter of seconds you’ve visualized an entire literary life with him (the next stop, he gets off, and that future crumbles)....more
We’re sending our next Letter For Kids from Jen Malone! Jen takes us off the beaten path to show us around her hometown of Boston, including sites like Witch City and MIT. This letter includes an extra surprise from the author… but you’ll have to wait and see just what that is when you receive yours in the mail!...more
Memoirist (and former editor-at-large of McSweeney’s) Sean Wilsey talks to The Atlantic about his essay collection, More Curious, and why humor writing resonates:
I think there’s something dishonest about writing that isn’t funny. I can’t engage with a piece of work without an element of humor to it.
The success of The Magicians trilogy stems in part from its self-awareness. Lev Grossman wields his familiarity with fantasy genre fiction to critique and alter the usual formula. So why do his female characters all serve the same purpose?
…he’d almost certainly be familiar with the infamous tradition of “Women in Refrigerators,” coined by comic fan Gail Simone in 1999: It means, basically, that female characters are often killed off or otherwise grotesquely traumatized (raped, tortured, paralyzed, stripped of superpowers, etc.) to motivate angst on the part of male leads.