Posts Tagged: Electric Literature

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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Writing Beyond the Quota

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When the mainstream doesn’t carve out space for their work, writers must take the situation to their own hands, creating their own platforms, even their own communities of dedicated readers. Over at Electric Literature, Adrian L. Jawort discusses the process of compiling two anthologies of contemporary Native American and Indigenous writing:

The anthologies are about how we view the world as we know it and share it to other indigenous peoples through the lens of our own creative control; not what perhaps some so-called Big Five New York publisher or outside editor assumes the Native experience should read like because maybe they’ve previously read Louise Erdrich, other Alexie works, or an aforementioned Native American Renaissance-era book from decades ago and deduced that Native American literature representation had already been fulfilled.

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Self-Publishing Vs. Traditional Publishing

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Who hasn’t felt that awkward moment between laughing and crying when the question, “do writers make money?” pops up? Unlike movie-makers and musicians, exact figures for authors’ earnings have always been notoriously difficult to retrieve. However, with the advent of Amazon’s publishing arm, interesting figures determining just how much authors can make from self-publishing versus traditional publishing arise.

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Book Club Misogyny

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For Electric Literature, Tabitha Blankenbiller offers a critique of the recent New York Times article about “Man Book Clubs,” and analyzes how gendered book covers influence readers’ choices and experience:

We can debate the levels of hubris and/or drunkenness in the NYT editorial room all we want, but what we have is an article claiming real estate and resources in The New York Times’ Books section.

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A Comic for Dreamers, the Lost, and the Lonely

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Sometimes, you get lost. In art, in love, in fantasies-turned-dreams, in your five billion part-time jobs. Sophia Foster-Dimino combines daily minutia with drifting existential questions in her comic, “My Girl.”

Read “My Girl” over at Electric Literature, and feel it right in your secretly lonely guts (in a good, comforting way).

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Domestic Tensions

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For Electric Literature, Dan Sheehan interviews novelist Mark Haddon about his recent short story collection The Pier Falls. The two also discuss why Haddon writes about family and domestic spaces:

When I began writing fiction I wanted to write big novels about big subjects and learned, painfully and slowly, that I had other, smaller subjects where I was at home, subjects that suited me.

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When Computers Choose Which Novels to Publish

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We’re used to Amazon producing recommendations alongside books we buy, but are we prepared for a world where computerized data also picks what gets published? Inkitt, an electronic publishing platform, has announced that they will be utilizing algorithms to pick novels to publish in the interest of “fairness and objectivity” that can’t be found in this world of “literary gatekeepers.”

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Noir Literature as Protest Literature

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With its trope of the hard-boiled, male detective, noir literature has historically had an inclusion problem. At Electric Literature, Nicholas Seeley discusses its burgeoning revival as protest literature against injustice:

Today it has a second chance—assuming it continues to draw in and cultivate new and challenging voices.

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