Posts Tagged: the new yorker

Magical Thinking

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When quizzed on his characters’ romantic proclivities, Haruki Murakami errs towards empathy:

I occasionally think that, in our heart of hearts, we all may be seeking situations like this one—where our free will doesn’t apply and (almost) everything is determined by someone else, where each day must be lived according to the conditions that someone else has laid down.

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A Whole Jar of Change

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Make your way to The New Yorker, where Elif Batuman makes an inquiry into what has become a dominant American disposition: awkwardness. “Awkwardness,” Batuman argues, “is the consciousness of a false position.”

Here is the top-rated definition of awkward in Urban Dictionary: “Passing a homeless person on your way to a Coin Star machine.” In other words, denying that you have any spare change while carrying a whole jar of change, a transparent column of money, right in front of the person.

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YA Television

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This summer’s debate over young adult literature has raised questions ranging from whether adults should read YA to what even counts as thee genre in the first place. The New Yorker’s television critic Emily Nussbaum extends these questions to the world of television, where adolescent dramas have had a different impact on the development and survival of the medium:

This debate has focused on books.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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It seems impossible to say that someone was quietly assembling a story collection over a decade and a half when they’ve been publishing each of the stories one by one over at a little place called The New Yorker. And yet, that appears to be exactly what Donald Antrim has done.

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All Grown Up

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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a creepy new book cover presumably intended to attract older readers, giving another stir to the pot of YA literature that may or may not be OK for adults to read. In the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot wishes people would argue about something more interesting.

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Maintaining Human Life

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Writing may be hard work, but it isn’t the kind that pays the bills. Tillie Olsen’s seminal Silences wonders just what kind of work writing really is, and who has the privilege to do it:

Though access to education has improved for women and for members of the working class (categories that intersect) the lessons of “Silences” still resonate.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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On Tuesday, Tony Earley released a new collection of stories, Mr. Tall. Two decades have passed since Earley’s debut collection, Here We Are in Paradise, and though he has released two novels and a memoir since that time, for short fiction addicts (and lovers of southern writing), the publication of a new book of stories is big news.

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All Are Bad

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We’ve all read at least one: from “Against YA” to “Against Happiness,” essays that promise to dismiss entire abstract concepts using only rhetoric make for great click-bait. In The New Yorker, Ivan Kreilkamp explains why we keep overstating the case:

“Against [X]” is a symptom of a liberal culture’s longing to escape its own strictures; it’s the desire of thoughtful and nuanced people to shed their inhibitions and issue fearsome dicta.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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The news of Michael Brown’s death cannot be ignored. When one of our young people dies from shots fired by a police officer, there will be sadness and confusion. There will inevitably be questions, and questions left unanswered will lead to anger.  This is a week, perhaps, when we need fiction and art to help us try to make sense of who we are and where we go from here.

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How Fitzgerald Shaped Hemingway

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An early draft of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises focused on Brett Ashley, the woman who serves as a love interest to protagonist Jake Barnes and others. The revised manuscript owes much to F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote a letter filled with withering criticism of the earlier version, leading Hemingway to edit out much of the original manuscript.

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Struggling with Titles

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Karl Ove Knausgaard has been making waves with his six-part book My Struggle. The popular series shares a title with another famous book, Mein Kampf, Hitler’s treatise written from his prison cell. The New Yorker explores the reasoning behind Knausgaard’s choice of title:

Knausgaard sometimes speaks in interviews and public appearances of an irony inherent in the name of the book; where Hitler is all ideology and rigid perfection in “Mein Kampf,” Knausgaard’s struggle as a middle-class dad is quotidian, messy, faintly ridiculous.

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An Evolutionary Love Story

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One of Karen Russell’s favorite myths is the tale of Apollo and Daphne. Read about how it inspired her short story “The Bad Graft” and how she feels about the Joshua tree, here.

Without boring everybody further, I was thrilled to learn about the ancient evolutionary love story between the Joshua tree and the yucca moth, its exclusive pollinator.

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WWNBD: What Would Nellie Bly Do?

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Two things: First, Alice Gregory’s fascinating account of Nellie Bly’s bold, perennially wry career in journalism—an account that wraps up with a call for female writers to not only write about “women’s issues.”

Second, Ann Friedman responds with a thoughtful defense of making a career writing about “women’s issues.”

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Rumpus Round-Up: All the Abramson News Fit to Print

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Jill Abramson, the first woman to head the New York Times as executive editor, was abruptly fired Wednesday and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.

The New Yorker attempted to explain why, with the leading theory being Abramson’s discovery several weeks ago that she earned less than her male predecessor.

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Meet the Internet Bard

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Steven Roggenbuck has been producing poetry “that is made, distributed, and viewed almost exclusively on the Web” since 2010. In this article in the New Yorker, Kenneth Goldsmith calls Roggenbuck’s videos, with their shaky camerawork and rough jump cuts, “meticulously crafted infomercials for poetry.”

While some might question Roggenbuck’s improvised style, Goldsmith writes, “This type of writing has deep roots, extending back to the cosmological visions of William Blake, through the direct observation poems of the Imagists, the anti-art absurdities of Dada, and the nutty playfulness of Surrealism…”

Reflecting on his experiences as an Internet poet, Roggenbuck said, “This is the dream for poets, to be a poet when the Internet exists.

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