Science fiction author William Gibson has long been predicting the future, and he’s been writing long enough to know that many of the things he has predicted have eventually come true in contemporary society. Now he has a new prediction: future generations will look at the present day as a joke....more
At the New Yorker, Francisco Goldman tackles the malaise shadowing his favorite city in the world:
Mexico City feels different these days. Its usual vibrancy has been muted, and not only because of the missing students of Ayotzinapa. Paéz tells me that when he walked the city streets on the night of September 16th, which is Mexican Independence Day, he was struck by how quiet things were.
Because we’re not expecting it, because the diptych hasn’t yet become a tired form in narrative, I think the diptych challenges and transforms traditional narrative, that is, story built around the arc of beginning, middle, and end.
For The American Reader, Eric Dean Wilson traces the history and sings the praises of the diptych, or the two-piece story....more
First, Grant Snider’s favorite things, in rhyme.
In The Last Book I Loved, Richard Kramer delves into the “determined and effective” Judith Schneiderman’s memoir, I Sang To Survive. A “propulsive drive” lies behind the Auschwitz survivor’s writing. “What I love most about her book,” Kramer writes, “is the joy with which she tells it, the many moments when her words and insights jump off the page, glowing, specific.”
Lastly, in an animated conversation about story writing and storytelling, “that cool girl” Megan Stielstra opens up about her creative process....more
Not every book is a great work of literature, but that doesn’t mean literary authors don’t have fun reading some pulpy genre books. Over at Electric Literature, Amber Sparks confesses to drawing inspiration from Dean Kuntz and Stephen King before speaking with other authors about their less-than-literary influences....more
In talking to Molly Backes for this week’s Sunday Interview, Megan Stielstra mentions that she wants her readers to put down her book while reading in order to think, act, or write about the ideas being discussed. Her strategy sure worked on me....more
In September, we mentioned Dan Piepenbring’s essay on the artfulness of the Paris Review’s junk mail. Head to 3:AM Magazine for some more randomly-generated poetry, Michael Naghten Shanks’s Selected Spam Haikus, like this one:
pull wealth out of your
deep brown beans when they invite
Nothing much more needs to be said: At the Atlantic, “the author of White Noise reviews Taylor Swift’s white noise.”...more
Remember Elizabeth Strout’s 2008 Pulitzer-prize winning novel in stories Olive Kitteridge? What if Olive could come to life in a film adaptation? Man. In a perfect world, probably Frances McDormand would play Olive, right? In fact, maybe we could just give McDormand creative control of the whole project, yeah?...more
On the same night that Mary Shelley released Frankenstein’s monster, John Polidori, Lord Byron’s personal physician, wrote “The Vampyre,” the first fully realized English vampire story. The Public Domain Review takes a look at how Byron served as the model for the first known aristocratic bloodsucker....more
I’ve always been writing about the same thing: that truth and stories are inextricably linked, that stories are truer than fact because they are fact organized into meaning. If we don’t tell our stories, if we don’t remember, and if we don’t leave stories, then our world becomes sick and we become sick.
The owner of another fabulous volume, the Book of St Albans – a gentleman’s guide to heraldry, hawking and hunting that, in the 1480s, was the first colour printed book in English – did worse and with much less shame: he added a little drawing to the bottom of a page showing an enthusiastic couple having sex.
Yes. It’s impossible to achieve things like justice if you don’t have enough compassionate imagination for any other human being to understand that they deserve justice. That shorthand justice is not the thing at all. You know, what can I say, I mean, my deepest, I think, religious belief is that we are amongst souls and we have souls.
For The Baffler, Kurt Newman analyzes Tom DeMarco’s 1997 novel, The Deadline: A Novel of Project Management, comparing the work to that of the Marquis de Sade and explaining why a seemingly irrelevant book highlights “our economic order’s sadomasochistic core.” The Deadline differs from other sadomasochistic fiction (American Psycho, Fight Club, and 24) in that it is distinguishable for “its illumination of the role of sadist and masochistic fantasies—not in the psychopathologies of day traders, not in the hollow rituals of postmodern consumption and therapy, and not in the torture chambers of late-capitalist militarism—but in the world of industrial relations.”...more
YA author Kathleen Hale became obsessed over a negative Goodreads review of her first novel, to the point of finding the reviewer’s address and deciding to stalk her in real life. She wrote about the experience on the Guardian last week, and now BuzzFeed Books has collected the reactions to Hale’s story....more
Sara Benincasa has some inspiring words over at Medium:
You must tell people exactly what you want from them if you have any hope that they will give it to you. I asked people to review my book (well, my publisher asked them to review my book) in the hopes that everyone would love it and write glowing reviews.
Perfume Genius is the stage moniker of Seattle-based artist Mike Hadreas, whose buzz-worthy new album reeks of deliberate, inspired songwriting and technical ability. Hadreas showcases his impressive vocal range on this beautiful track from the record, Too Bright, titled “Fool.” The deceptively flippant lyrics mask a melodic complexity that rewards us more and more with each subsequent listen....more