Lit-Link Round-up


As a mother of two adopted kids myself, I found Jennifer Gilmore’s HuffPo piece on whether “mothering” differs from “parenting” interesting. Mainly, this piece seems merely a jumping-off point. Biological motherhood is a fetishized thing in our culture. When I got pregnant with my third child, people shouted things like, “Thank God!” as though I didn’t already have 2 children. Some told me that my daughters were “great” but that there’s “nothing like having your own child.” To some extent, I didn’t realize people’s actual, hidden biases about adoption fully until I joined the Club Of Biological Mothers and people began letting their hair down and telling me what they really thought. “Pity” had apparently kept some of them in polite silence before. Even now (my son is 7 and my twin daughters nearly 13) I’m often asked whether my daughters “love” their brother (or a kind of conspiratorial, “So how do they feel about him?,” with the implication that they must resent him for sharing my husband’s and my (dubiously desirable) genes. The thing about this view isn’t just that it’s offensive, but that it also assumes such a static view of life and relationships. As though people can live with one another daily for 7 or 13 years and still be goverened by some “starting off” point like whether a child came from inside your body or from China. As though personalities and intimacies and even other actual grudges born of the constantly-moving-montage of life happenings, don’t end up taking such immense immediate precedence over an external logistical fact that happened before a child’s memory even began. It fascinates me that the same American culture that glamorizes romantic love and Soul Mates…to whom, unless we’re making a bad joke here about the deep South, we are presumably not related to by blood…seems to discount the role of “choice” in the way parents and children feel about one another, placing all value on biological imperative. If biology were such a deep freaking guarantee of harmony, permanence and intimacy, we would never have spawned the Jerry Springer Show. We also probably wouldn’t have Art.

Terese Svoboda, Ben Marcus, Kiran Desai and the rest of the Guggenheim Fellows announced.

Deborah Copaken Kogan’s So-Called Life in Post-feminist Arts and Letters.

Julia Fierro’s Sentimental Education: Sex and the Literary Writer.

Apple chooses my former editor, Jennifer Banash’s new novel, White Lines, as a book of the month.

Allison Amend’s art-world novel, A Nearly Perfect Copy, garnering early raves, dropped this week from Nan Talese.

Other Voices Books released Rob Roberge‘s The Cost of Living last week too. Caroline Leavitt, Three Guys One Book, and Meredith Resnick have all been talking with Rob, about everything from the Brian Jonestown Massacre to eating gummie bears in color-coded order. Uh, yeah, a couple of references to drugs and sex too…

Katie Arnoldi’s The Mexican Connection continues on The Weeklings.

Burrows Press wonders about sexy women writers playing to the hypothetical “pervert readership.” Some interesting stuff here.

Hawthorne Books acquires Ariel Gore’s new memoir.

I’m headed out the LA Times Festival of Books. Congrats again to the Book Award finalists. There probably won’t be a line-up next week, but if I can figure out how to upload photos from my phone, I just may play paparzzi and stalk some famous types (okay, I’m not aiming that high here…last year Florence Henderson was the talk of the Green Room, so this isn’t exactly the academy awards, but I’m from Chicago so I’m easy) and put their pictures up here. Is that…legal?

Gina Frangello is the author of four books of fiction and a forthcoming memoir, Blow Your House Down. Her novel A Life in Men (Algonquin 2014) is currently under development by Netflix as a series produced by Charlize Theron’s production company, Denver & Delilah. Her most recent novel, Every Kind of Wanting (Counterpoint 2016) was included on several “best of” lists for 2016, including Chicago Magazine’s and The Chicago Review of Books’. She has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor, having founded both the independent press Other Voices Books, and the fiction section of the popular online literary community The Nervous Breakdown. She has also served as the Sunday editor for The Rumpus, and as the faculty editor for both TriQuarterly Online and The Coachella Review. Her short fiction, essays, book reviews, and journalism have been published in such venues as Salon, the LA Times, Ploughshares, the Boston Globe, BuzzFeed, the Chicago Tribune, the Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and in many other magazines and anthologies. After two decades of teaching at many universities, including UIC, Northwestern’s School of Continuing Studies, UCLA Extension, the University of California Riverside Palm Desert, Roosevelt University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College Chicago, Gina is excited to be a student again at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Program for Writers, where she has returned to complete the PhD she left unfinished twenty years ago. More from this author →