Why Book Criticism and Literary Culture Needs a Poptimist Revolution

When bestselling author Jennifer Weiner was profiled by The New Yorker in January 2014 in an article called “Written Off,” writer Rebecca Mead made sure to outline Weiner’s two audiences: one, the loyal readers of her books, who propel them onto the best-seller list, and number two, a pricklier sort, consisting of the “writers, editors, and critics… who have given Weiner a parallel notoriety, as an unlikely feminist enforcer.” The short version is that, through Twitter (and her following, which currently numbers about 93K), Weiner used her platform to needle such august institutions as The New York Times Book Review and everyplace else with mediocre VIDA counts regarding the amounts of space they give to reviewing and considering the three books that “matter” for the season written by male authors like Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, while simultaneously ignoring the span of women’s writing, and, additionally, commercial fiction. … Read More

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Should the Word ‘Slut’ Be in a Children’s Book in 2014?

Recently, the Australian supermarket chain Aldi removed Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes from its shelves in response to, as an Aldi spokeswoman put it, “comments by a limited number of concerned customers regarding the language used in this particular book.” According to The Guardian, the book was removed after at least one person commented on Aldi’s Facebook page about the book, saying it had “an unacceptable word in it for kids!!! Not ok!” Since apparently stores are now paying attention to what people say on their Facebook pages (it is the future, everyone), Aldi is now facing protest from people on both sides of the aisle. … Read More

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Flavorwire Exclusive: Read an Excerpt From Liz Prince’s ‘Tomboy’

Liz Prince has been a cult and beloved figure in the world of comics for awhile, and in her autobiographical book Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir, she discusses the subject of growing up, in her inimitable, honest and simple style. Prince was never a girly-girl, and watching her navigate between the two poles of who she was and the (pink) box people wanted her to fit into makes for a fascinating look at what “identity” means in the process of growing up. The book’s out on September 2nd, but we have an exclusive look at some pages now. Check it out below. … Read More

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‘Infinite Jest,’ Recreated in Lego by an 11-Year-Old

This might be the best thing you’ll see on the internet all day. Earlier this year, English professor Kevin Griffith and his 11-year-old son Sebastian started Brickjest, a project in which they aimed to “translate” David Foster Wallace’s postmodernist classic Infinite Jest into Lego form. The final product has some 100 images, each of Lego scenes created by Sebastian based on his father’s descriptions. According to their website, the pair “first envisioned translating David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest into Lego after reading The Brick Bible, by Brendan Powell Smith. Wallace’s novel is probably the only contemporary text to offer a similar challenge to artists working in the medium of Lego.” Well, they certainly met the challenge. After the jump, check out a few of the best scenes, and then head on over to Brickjest to see the whole project. … Read More

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Staff Picks: Flavorwire’s Favorite Cultural Things This Week

Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More

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Daniel Kehlmann’s ‘F’ is Half Existential Puzzle, Half Family Farce

It’s not often you come across a novel like F. Written by German author Daniel Kehlmann and newly translated by Carol Brown Janeway for Pantheon, the book hits American shelves this week, and is likely to leave you scratching your head — but also deeply moved and existentially disturbed. The book even looks bizarre: so red, so squat, so spectacled. Its insides mostly live up to its outsides, although they are rather less cute and much less simple. … Read More

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Cool News: Lake Bell Is Currently Slated to Direct ‘The Emperor’s Children’ Adaptation

This news is exciting: Lake Bell, the writer/director of In a World… and a funny-lady actress who’s never quite got… Read More

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The ‘New Adult’ Genre Is Still Condescending and Pointless

The term “New Adult” has been kicking around for a while — since 2009 in fact, when St. Martin’s Press accidentally coined it in a call for manuscripts. Some champion it and some ignore it — and that latter reaction is the subject of an article this week in The Globe and Mail, which discusses how both traditional publishers and, particularly, booksellers are being slow to recognize New Adult (“or NA” — N/A?) as a genre. … Read More

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