Who are you?’ Isn’t this what every book asks of us as we chase its characters, trying to find out what they are reluctant to reveal? Is it not also the one essential thing we ask ourselves as human beings, as we struggle to make the choices that will define us?
Posts Tagged: salon
Feminists should accept and embrace Caitlyn and all trans and gender non-conforming people and see them wherever they define themselves on a broad gender spectrum. The project of ending misogyny and patriarchy is one that not only inextricably includes them, but should center around trans women, because the violence and rejection society throws at them is not for being a man, but for being an othered woman.
If Franzen is our genius realist, and DFW our genius postmodernist — how might they meld irony and sincerity?
In an excerpt over at Salon from his new book, Keep It Fake: Inventing an Authentic Life, Eric G. Wilson talks irony, realism, postmodernism, David Foster Wallace, and Jonathan Franzen....more
(n.); noxious exhalations from putrid organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere; a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere
“If the Internet is a bridge to the greater world, a troll is the beast who lives under it, extracting a toll in hurt feelings, outraged sensibilities and fear from all who pass.”
–Laura Miller, “We’re All Trolls Now”
If you’ve ever had occasion to visit an online discussion forum—be it the comment section of your local newspaper or a niche community of Northeastern birdwatchers—you’ve likely encountered the nasty phenomenon of the Internet troll....more
Whether you’re singing, dancing, or making out with Spiderman, there’s something different about doing things in the rain. In an excerpt from her book Rain: A Cultural and National History published at Salon, Cynthia Barnett analyzes rain as a narrative device:
Rain is such a compelling literary and cinematic trope that it’s easily and often overdeployed, as many critics have mirthfully pointed out.
The system for determining worth and value strikes me as terribly strange, and it occurs to me that it just might require a suspension of disbelief. Luckily for me, I know something about that.
For Salon, Rachel Basch writes about the humiliation of refinancing her mortgage as a writer, freelance editor, and adjunct....more
It’s no secret that writing doesn’t pay. Ann Bauer wants to talk about where the money comes from:
In my opinion, we do an enormous “let them eat cake” disservice to our community when we obfuscate the circumstances that help us write, publish and in some way succeed…I do have a huge advantage over the writer who is living paycheck to paycheck, or lonely and isolated, or dealing with a medical condition, or working a full-time job.
It’s very hard to imagine a president getting up and talking about how damaging the fear of terrorism has been to us, culturally and politically, and how much it’s horribly undermined us. Looking at torture and all the other things that have been done in the name of counterterrorism, it’s really quite disturbing what we’ve done in the name of our own fear.
In an interview with Salon, the always-wise Roxane Gay offers her opinions on Bill Cosby, Lena Dunham, and the challenges of writing characters whose experiences differ from one’s own:
We can imagine spaceships and different planets and aliens, but when it comes to writing about someone who is of a different race or a different gender or a different sexuality then all of a sudden we’re very confused…I think that it’s terrifying to worry about getting difference wrong.
Marginalia is a blow struck against the idea that reading is a one-way process, that readers simply open their minds and the great, unmediated thoughts of the author pour in.
The problem with unreliable narrators — and the thing that makes them so delightful to read in fiction — is that by design, you never quite know when they are telling the truth. Which makes it a stunningly poor choice of conventions to employ when writing about sexual assault, a crime that victims are often accused of fabricating, either wholesale or in parts.
At Salon, Laura Miller covers a recent update in the ongoing criticism of—and legal proceedings involving—Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. Ronald Nye, the son of Harold Nye, a former agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation who has since died, can finally publish his father’s documents....more
We can approach the books from a variety of different critical, theoretical, and ideological perspectives, too, depending on students’ backgrounds and interests. In essence, we can talk about whatever you wish to — provided that we do it cogently and well.
In an excerpt from his recently released book Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas, Adam Kirsch positions David Foster Wallace as a quintessentially American writer: self-conscious and ironic, but at the same time frenzied, earnest, and above all contradictory:
A clue to the answer can be found in a question Wallace asked in “Infinite Jest:” “Why is the truth usually not just un- but anti-interesting?” In that excessively interesting book, the interesting is always suspect.
At Salon, Lydia Millet gets serious about sexism, climate change and extinction, and the literary establishment’s dismissal of funny books:
“Important” serious books often seem to be picked based on the simplicity and safety of their content as a barometer of upper-middle-class cultural preoccupation, and humor’s too complex and ambiguous to be a flagship like that.
Staying the night in Sunnyside, Washington Irving’s “Tarrytown retreat,” Salon’s Elizabeth Bradley wonders why the “stories endure, [but] why they leave their author behind.” That is, why has “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” seeped into the American consciousness, but the writer of the tale has been relatively forgotten?...more
Salon has published an excerpt from The Vulgar Tongue: Green’s History of Slang by lexicographer Jonathon Green. While ancient sex slang is sure to elicit a few giggles, Green also explores the deeper implications of our ability to dance around the issue:
The question, however, is not whether or what, but why.
Independent bookstores will save the world, or at least the publishing industry, maybe. Josh Weil and Mike Harvkey took a road trip across the country, exploring independent bookstores. They found a collection of dedicated shops and local literary communities, but that didn’t answer the fundamental question: how important are independent bookstores are to writers?...more
In Rainey Royal, Landis explores the boundaries between sexual object and subject, victim and agent.
Over at Salon, Eliza Berman reviews Dylan Landis’ latest novel Rainey Royal going deep into its accurate depiction of teenage sexuality. Curious, now? You can read an excerpt from “Rainey Royal” at Midnight Breakfast....more