Before he became an acclaimed novelist and political commentator, Gore Vidal was just a guy trying to make ends meet. Under three different pseudonyms, Vidal wrote a romance novel, three mysteries, and a crime thriller. Now, over 50 years later, Thieves Fall Out, a pulp novel set during the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, is being re-issued, this time with Vidal’s name on the cover....more
Posts Tagged: the new york times
Interactive digital storytelling: fiction’s next frontier? In the New York Times, Chris Suellentrop examines interactive technologies as used in Blood & Laurels, by Emily Short:
Exploring those possibilities is one reason Ms. Short became a writer of interactive fiction rather than of more conventional stories.
As any lover of literature might tell you, all books are not created equal. But this does not mean that there is nothing to be gained from novels that are, in many ways, flawed. Over at the New York Times, writers Leslie Jamison and James Parker discuss “supposedly terrible books that left a lasting impression”:
I will always love Go Ask Alice for the very qualities that make it an aesthetic failure.
Think your love of certain passages will never fade? The New York Times Sunday Book Review argues that perhaps not all passages will withstand the test of time. How much does age change what we love?
If you’re the sort of person who has always marked up your books — written comments in the margins and underlined passages that you particularly like — you will end up, in middle age, owning a lot of books inscribed with the remarks and reactions of a much younger you.
People of color have been largely excluded from children’s literature. Of the 3,200 children’s books published in 2013, only 93 featured black characters. In his essay, “The Apartheid of Children’s Literature,” Christopher Myers speaks out against the trend of allowing members of certain racial groups to go unseen because of the color of their skin....more
At the end of last month, Nicholas Kristof published a piece in the New York Times calling for academics to come out from their insular bubble and participate in the mainstream conversation—especially with respect to writing. Joshua Rothman responded in the New Yorker that academic writing is only as “knotty and strange, remote and insular, technical and specialized, forbidding and clannish” as the academy itself....more
Did you know that Mark Twain is one of the best known foreign writers in China? Neither did we. There is a well earned, and unabashed image of Mark Twain as the quintessential American author and for good reason. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains in the American cannon and is taught all over the country however it was a lesser known story of his that has him being taught along side of Mao Zedong....more
You’ve probably seen this regional-dialect quiz from the New York Times making the rounds on your social networks. You answer questions about your vocabulary and pronunciation, and it tries to determine where in the United States you’re from.
But the New Yorker‘s Shouts & Murmurs blog is really upping the ante with their own dialect quiz, which asks questions like “What do you call sweetened carbonated beverages?” Do you use “soda,” “pop,” or “Coke”?...more
The shape of journalism has been changing rapidly in the past several years, but it still comes as a shock to hear that a media company as dominant as Time Inc. is bulldozing the barrier between business and news.
According to the New York Times, “the newsroom staffs at Time Inc.’s magazines will report to the business executives....more
There are a lot of terms writers have to be aware of these days. A lot of them seem like marketing words but they can come in handy when trying to explain to the non writers in your life what the hell you are trying to do....more
Andrea Elliott’s five-part New York Times essay “Invisible Child” is a brutal but absolutely necessary read.
In it, Elliott follows Dasani, a bright, athletic girl who, along with her parents and seven siblings, struggle through daily life in savagely underfunded homeless shelters and public schools....more
If certain books are to be termed immigrant fiction, what do we call the rest? Native fiction? Puritan fiction? This distinction doesn’t agree with me. Given the history of the United States, all American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction.
If there’s anything worse than accidentally CCing someone on an unflattering email about them, it’s receiving an unflattering email you weren’t supposed to see.
When Tim Kreider discovered such an email in his inbox (disparaging the choice he had made to rent a herd of goats “for reasons that aren’t relevant here”), he felt terrible at first....more
“Tip the waitress or barman well, ‘cause you’re going to need their toilet.”
Taxi drivers made strides this year at the PEN World Voices Festival.
For a handful of weeks, a group of long-standing New York City taxi drivers have been meeting to poetically reflect on their adventures shuttling passengers throughout the boroughs....more
Over at the New York Times “Draft” blog, Benjamin Nugent, author of Good Kids, breaks down the romantic notion that locking yourself away in the “primeval hush of the Midwest” is a certified boon to your writing.
Instead, Nugent discusses the “Victorian foil” of monomania and the way that too much alone time can actually be detrimental to the creative process:
Writing a book consists largely of avoiding distractions.
“That red convertible we were so proud of looks as though it is about to be struck by a meteor. And every moment — the prom, the dance recital, the snowman’s construction — is painted now with bright yellows and rich reds and burnt oranges, the colors of our storm-tossed autumn.”
Sandy has curated a photography exhibition on New Dorp Beach in Staten Island....more
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”...more
The New York Times reported yesterday on the notable difference between independent bookstores in France, and their struggling American counterparts.
The article describes the way in which government intervention and price fixing for French-language books has buoyed printed literature in the era of the e-book....more
At The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani reviews Dave Eggers’ A Hologram for the King, calling it a “comic but deeply affecting tale about one man’s travails that also provides a bright, digital snapshot of our times.”
For more on the novel, which is due out on June 28th, don’t miss Rumpus editor Stephen Elliott’s interview with Eggers....more
“Language can still be an adventure if we remember that words can make a kind of melody. In novels, news stories, memoirs and even to-the-point memos, music is as important as meaning. In fact, music can drive home the meaning of words.”...more
“That online conversation was our last. Once he signed off, he was gone for good. At that moment, those children we had planned died, or were never born, or could have been born if things had gone differently....more
“Verbs kick-start sentences: Without them, words would simply cluster together in suspended animation. We often call them action words, but verbs also can carry sentiments (love, fear, lust, disgust), hint at cognition (realize, know, recognize), bend ideas together (falsify, prove, hypothesize), assert possession (own, have) and conjure existence itself (is, are).”...more
“Creating the blog might have been his grasp at taking control of our story, but it was also his attempt to speak to me in my language, or on my platform anyway.”...more