Posts Tagged: Electric Literature

Writing = Work = Job

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Settling the debate about whether “writer” is job that arose with Merritt Tierce’s Marie Claire essay about going broke post-debut novel, and a response piece by Ester Bloom at The Billfold calling writing a hobby, Lincoln Michel finds a middle ground between the two stances, arguing at Electric Literature that yes, writing should be considered a job—and the attitude that it isn’t encourages exploitation.

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“Debate/Discuss/Rend Garments”

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Over at Electric Literature, Ryan Chapman interviews Teddy Wayne, whose third novel, Loner, seems to effortlessly blow by the clichés of the campus novel: as Ryan calls it, “the writer’s equivalent of the pop ballad.” Wayne begins by citing “non-campus” novels as influences—The Talented Mr.

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The Power of Unreality

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While fiction embraces the flights of fancy that come with imagination, nonfiction is fairly hostile to writers who stray too far away from the objective facts of the story. How closely should writers of nonfiction stick to facts? At Electric Literature, Justin Lawrence Daugherty makes the case for embracing some unreality in writing nonfiction:

We can talk about truth versus fact.

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Reading Emotions

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There’s nothing that the book world likes to debate more than the differences between literary fiction and commercial or genre fiction.  

According to a new study published in Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, readers of literary fiction are better able to understand emotions as compared with readers of popular genre fiction, Electric Literature reports.

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A Perfect Likeness

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As part of the Hemingway Days festival on Key West each year, the Hemingway Look-Alike Society hosts the Hemingway Look-Alike contest. This year, and for the first time ever, someone with the last name Hemingway took home the honor and the giant medal that goes with it:

Dave Hemingway of Macon, North Carolina and who is of no relation to the author, finally lifted the triumphant bust of “Papa” Hemingway after seven previous appearances in the contest.

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In Conversation with Ramona Ausubel

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Desire is the center of everything. We want because we are lonely, regretful, hopeful. We want because we don’t feel at home in our bodies or our lives. Want is this pivot point between whatever happened before that we’re trying to move away from or closer to and the question of whether we’ll get there.

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Extremely Sentimental and Incredibly Useful

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At Electric Literature, Manuel Betancourt argues that there is value to the “cheap sentimentality” in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and its film adaptation:

What cheap sentimentality can do is to short-circuit our connection to the depths of our emotions, precisely by making us feel that they are closer to the surface than we’re perhaps comfortable with.

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21st Century Magical Realist

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Beyond the obvious fact of when it was written or published, what does it mean for literature to be contemporary? Is a work’s relevance determined by market trends and cultural currents? In her monthly advice column for Electric Literature, Elisa Gabbert allays a writer’s temporally induced anxieties:

Magical realism “has been done,” yes, but so has everything else.

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Stop Demonizing Fearless Women

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At Electric Literature, Bronwyn Averett interviews Julia Franks about her debut novel, Over the Plain Houses. The novel is set in a small town Appalachian Village, and explores “the government’s role in the lives of individuals, the responsibility of humans toward the environment, and the place of women within their communities.” On the latter topic, Franks says:

When women don’t behave the way we want, we demonize them.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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This week at Recommended Reading, PEN America offers an excerpt from Brazilian author Noemi Jaffe’s novel Írisz: as orquídeas, which is remarkable for many reasons, one of them being that this is so far the only opportunity to read part of the Portuguese-language novel in English translation.

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But for Man’s Absence

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Released this May, director Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s 1975 sci-fi novel High-Rise converts the dystopian work into a tableau of striking visuals made all the more seductive by the presence of elegant Internet boyfriend du jour Tom Hiddleston. At Electric Literature, Michael Betancourt analyzes the contrasting versions of masculinity presented in the book and the film:

If the appeal of the high-rise in Ballard’s novel lay in the fact that it “was an environment built not for man, but for man’s absence,” Wheatley’s adaptation dismantles the sexist humanist language at work in the author’s rhetoric.

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Reading for a Paycheck

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At Electric Literature, Nick Politan reports on a new study that suggests that reading in childhood has a link to financial success in adulthood. Politan, however, is critical of the study, which he argues reduces books to their “capitalist value”:

Can “books” not be something(s) — at least for a reader — positively stripped of their economic jackets?

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