Posts Tagged: slate

Hating Your Own Book Trailer

By

Slate is on the case, looking at why so many book trailers are self-loathing:

Behold Jonathan Franzen, opening his book trailer for Freedom with the words: “This might be a good place for me to register my profound discomfort at having to make videos like this.” Behold Slate editor Gabriel Roth, who transformed the trailer for his novel The Unknowns into a comment on the existential futility of book trailers.

...more

Fireflies, Tweets, and Jolts of Nostalgia

By

Over at Slate, writer Elizabeth McCracken muses about what people miss most about home and how reminiscing on Twitter creates a shared experience. She writes:

Previously I would have said that nostalgia can never be experienced secondhand, but it turns out Twitter is the perfect delivery system for other people’s nostalgia: each tweet was a little pressurized jolt of somebody else’s longing for something lost.

...more

For Men and By Men

By

Slate’s Rebecca Onion and Andrew Kahn analyze the overwhelming maleness of both the subjects and authors of history books, discussing their findings with book publishers:

Our data set revealed some answers about the publishing of popular history that we expected: Authors are largely male, biographical subjects too; “uncle books” make up a third of the total titles published.

...more

melissa gira grant_authorphoto1

The Rumpus Interview with Melissa Gira Grant

By

Melissa Gira Grant talks sex workers’ rights, labor politics, the novelty of women’s sexuality, and her book, Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work. ...more

Why Internet Comments Suck

By

Wittgenstein explains why discourse on the Internet sucks. And it’s not just because of your crazy uncle.

So, language is quicksand—except it’s not. Unlike the parlor tricks of the deconstructionists who bloviate about différance and traces, there clearly are rules that shouldn’t be broken and clearly ways of speaking that are blatantly incorrect, even if they change over time and admit to flexible interpretations even on a daily basis.

...more

Can’t Read Italian? Ask Mom To Translate

By

After reading the first two books in Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, Sara Goldsmith enlisted her mother to translate the third book from Italian so that she didn’t have to wait another year for the English release. Now, for Slate, Goldsmith shares how the experience generated a new respect for the scope and craft of Ferrante’s novels, as well as how the project influenced her relationship with her mother:

For my mom and me—who, like all mothers and daughters, sometimes have a difficult relationship—the novels have given us a way to stay in closer touch and a subject to return to and discuss.

...more

We Wish to Go to the Festival

By

After 13 years, another Milan Kundera novel has been translated into English for all us provincials who never learned French. At Slate, Benjamin Herman praises The Festival of Insignificance for its lighthearted wisdom:

Insignificance is the work not of a grumpy old man but of a grinning old man.

...more

Intergenerational Cycle of Crap

By

Gabriel Roth has some hard truths about The Poky Little Puppy, and he’s not wrong.

Millions of people enjoyed The Poky Little Puppy as children, because it was cheap and because, being children, they had no standards. They grew up to be parents, remembered the book fondly from childhood, and purchased it for their own children.

...more

Bringing Up Baby

By

Shirley Jackson’s bone-chilling story “The Lottery” is probably the last thing anyone wants to associate with Mother’s Day, yet her lurking plot twists and sharp character insights are the perfect tools to write about parenting. In this month’s Slate Book Review, Dan Kois explains how Jackson’s books depicted family life well before any of us knew what to expect when expecting:

Airy unconcern about the state of one’s home, marriage, or children, masking a deeper unspoken acknowledgment that all will forever exist in a state of chaos?

...more

When Critics Miss The Point

By

For Slate, Cristina Hartmann explains how The Great Gatsby went from a marginal publication to a central part of America’s literary canon. According to Hartmann, much of the novel’s early struggles emerged from criticism that misrepresented Fitzgerald’s satirical position, as critics stood too close to a cultural moment:

Fitzgerald’s contemporaries were unable to see the novel for what it was—biting satire of the hypocrisy of the profligate Jazz Age—because they were in the thick of it.

...more

People Read Everywhere

By

Photographer Lawrence Schwartzwald finds people reading just about everywhere. He’s been going around New York City, snapping pictures of people reading books in unlikely places. Slate caught up with Scwartzwald, who explains his fascination with people and their books:

You just get a visceral reaction, like writing a great story or reading one for that matter, there’s an emotional, psychological component to it that you sense and occasionally you’re able to capture it because sometimes you may have literally one frame to get it off and you either get it or you don’t.

...more

In Defense of “Elitism”

By

Rejection is an essential part of editing and publishing, but also a source of criticism of the industry. Over at Slate, Daniel Menaker comes to the defense of the publishing industry’s gatekeepers, explaining the importance of professionals in guiding the production of literature:

The modern, often online and anonymous, neo-Levellers who object to the “elitism” of publishing arrive at their position from the other side, the populist.

...more

The Second Time Around

By

2014 wasn’t just the year of the debut—plenty of authors released their second novel, often considered the most challenging for writers to write. Slate sat down with some second-time novelists to discuss their sophomore efforts, like Family Life author Akhil Sharma who spent a dozen years on the novel:

If you write for two or three years and don’t make much progress, you begin to think that there is something wrong with you.

...more

Back to the Future

By

The past is always a story, impossible to remember without molding it into a narrative that privileges some details over others and colors memory with tone. Reflecting on a recent trend toward biographical fiction, Joanna Scutts warns us about the dangers of time travel:

When imagination pours into the gaps in the biographical record, overcoming the frustrations of burned letters and lost diaries by making things up, it replaces history with a plausible lie, which tells us far more about our own time than it does about the past.

...more