Over at the Paris Review, in an interview with Leanne Shapton, Julavits answers each question with an eBay auction listing. What listing would you choose to answer the query, “What sort of highly valuable or beloved object would you feed to a shark to save your life?” Hopefully not your copy of Women in Clothes, coedited by Shapton, Julavits, and Sheila Heti....more
Greek for “of equal number of clauses,” isocolon is a rhetorical device that produces a sense of order by balancing parallel elements that are similar in structure and length within a sentence. An isocolon need not have three elements, but the requirement of parallel and balance means that it often takes a tripartite shape, technically called a tricolon.
I sometimes teach Spanish to a lot of undergraduates at Columbia, which is something that I love. It gives me the illusion, hopefully not a delusion, that more and more young people are learning Spanish going on to professions that perhaps didn’t require Spanish earlier.
The funny thing is it’s hard to explain, because it has nothing to do with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. It has everything to do with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.
Chris Harrison, host of The Bachelor/Bachelorette, has written a novel, which he describes as “an extension of [his] brand.” NPR has the whole story....more
Few things are more frightening for an academic and a scholar than losing the ability to think. Their livelihoods, and sense of self, are dependent on the cognitive ability to generate new ideas and write about them. And so for Sandy Bem, a psychology professor, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s threatened a devastating blow....more
This Thursday, May 21st, I’ll be joining Binnie Klein on her WPKN radio show “A Miniature World,” broadcast out of Bridgeport, CT on 89.5 FM, and available everywhere online at http://stream.wpkn.org/. The show’s theme for the day will be “songs that transform lives.” Binnie and I will be joined from 10 a.m.-12 p.m....more
Monday 5/18: Amy Gerstler reads from her poetry. 7 p.m. at Dabney Hall at CalTech.
Leslie Parry discusses and signs Church of Marvels. 7 p.m. at Vroman’s Bookstore.
Stacy Wakefield reads from her novel The Sunshine Crust Baking Company and Ash Thayer presents Kill City: Lower East Side Squatters 1992-2000....more
Kazuo Ishiguro is interviewed at the Los Angeles Review of Books; among other things, the writer touches on world-building, jumping genres, and why, sometimes, it takes a little while to get where you’re going:
Well, it took me four years or five years before I came up with my second novel, and that wasn’t a strategy, that was just how long it took.
Newspaper journalist Samuel Clemens would eventually go on to become novelist Mark Twain. But, Samuel Clemens was something of a story writer too. At the Guardian, Nicky Woolf reports that a scholar at the University of California has discovered and authenticated letters stories written by Twain while he still worked at the San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle....more
Sudden sounds, such as the report of a musket or a cannon, were well known to kill scorbutic sailors. Even pleasant stimuli such as a drink of fresh water, or a long-awaited taste of fruit, could provoke a seizure and put an end to their lives.
Sex scenes in YA, the kind that (gulp) turn us on and make our cheeks flush and get our hearts racing, have never been more important than they are now. Stories that give protagonists flesh and bone and heart and all that goes with being in a body also give us a portrait of sexual intimacy born of desire, of need for one’s partner, of passionate love and want and its fulfillment, of playfulness and fun and joy.
This week was the third annual #TwitterFiction Festival, held here, there, and everywhere in typical Twitter style. The Association of American Publishers and Penguin Random House partnered to host the event this year, bringing in such big names as Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood), Celeste Ng (@pronounced_ing), Eric Jerome Dickey (@EricJDickey), Jackie Collins (@JackieCollins), and Maggie Stiefvater (@mstiefvater)....more
It’s the end of spring, and that means the California desert is teeming with music festivals. If you’re into deserted ranches, biker bar vibes, and scrubland stretching for miles, Deserted at the Palms is a pretty amazing way to go to a festival....more
When an artist has to assert that her intended audience is all humans rather than those who happen to be of her particular gender or race, what she’s actually having to assert is the breadth and depth of her own humanity.
Let’s consider that we are seeing a natural movement towards a society in which language is more oral—or in the case of texting, oral-style—where written prose occupies a much smaller space than it used to.
As such—might we stop pretending that ordinary people need to be able to write on a level higher than functional?
Parthenope was one of the local Sirens who in Book XII of the Odyssey, and many variant versions of the story, sang songs to lure the Greek hero Odysseus to his doom, not anticipating that he would block the seductive sound by filling his sailors’ ears with wax.
The voice of the dead man was heard speaking… In breathless silence the little, awed group stood round the phonograph, [as] Robert Browning’s familiar and cheery voice suddenly exclaimed: “Ready?”
Poet Robert Browning may not have been able to remember all the words he wrote, but he does bear the distinction of the first literary figure to record his voice, in April 1889....more
The Daily Beast interviews photographer Sally Mann about her new memoir and the overlap between writing and photography:
Yes. They’re so fleeting but in both there is that raptus of inspiration. Fleeting and really hard to hold onto, and you certainly can’t ask for it, but it happens with both, and it’s exactly the same feeling.