Books

Cool Girls Do It Better: On Kim Gordon’s Juicy, Modest Memoir, ‘Girl in a Band’

In the final paragraph of her memoir, Girl in a Band, Kim Gordon details a makeout session with a man who is most certainly not Thurston Moore. Emergency brake pulled, the two sat in front of a house on a hill that Gordon had rented in LA for several weeks last year while getting back to her visual art roots in a post-Sonic Youth, post-Thurston world. The anecdote starts kind of bumpy because it is apropos of nothing, but it ends somewhere fitting — hopeful, even. “I know: it sounds like I’m someone else entirely now,” she writes after pulling away from this man’s “full-on grope” for reasons of practicality, “and I guess I am.” … Read More

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Flavorwire Exclusive: A Lesson on Art School by Chris Kraus

The work of Chris Kraus — the American novelist, critic or fictocritic, professor of film, filmmaker, and editor — is irreducible to a single mode of artistic output. Nevertheless, in recent years, Kraus has been known more in her capacity as “the art world’s favorite fiction writer,” or, as  Kate Zambreno put it, as a writer who “radicalized a vernacular criticism that involves the self” and “[is] influential in re-innovating the idea of the nonfiction novel.” In whatever mode, Kraus draws fearlessly from her life as an artist. In the below short excerpt, taken from Phaidon’s new Akademie X: Lessons in Art + Life, Kraus does the same, effortlessly combining biography and criticism to deliver a sui generis lesson on art school. Included at the bottom is Kraus’ selection of reading, viewing, and other assignments for would-be students. … Read More

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‘Sex Criminals’ Is the Funny, Sex-Positive, Feminist Comic Series You Should Be Reading

Sex Criminals jokingly bills itself as a classic boy-meets-girl story, and in a way it is. Suzie and Jon meet at a party and are instantly attracted to each other (partly based on his ability to quote her favorite book, Lolita, but that small fact is easy to ignore). They hook up, as 20-somethings are wont to do, but then discover that they each have a… thing: When they orgasm, time stops. No, it doesn’t metaphorically stop, the way it would in the flowery language of romance novels — it literally stops, allowing Suzie and Jon to wander around a frozen world. What they each previously believed was a superpower unique him or her is now a shared oddity, bringing them closer together — “alone together” is a recurring motif — but also allowing them to go on a bank-robbing spree. See: Classic story.  … Read More

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The Unbearable Ironies of Libraries in Wartime

Yesterday we learned from Yahoo News! that ISIS has used improvised explosive devices to destroy several historic landmarks in the Iraqi city of Mosul, including the Mosul University Theater, the Church of Mary the Virgin, and the Mosul Public Library. In the case of the library, which is now offline, ISIS destroyed more than 8,000 items from a collection that includes “manuscripts from the eighteenth century, Syriac books printed in Iraq’s first printing house in the nineteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, Iraqi newspapers from the early twentieth century and some old antiques like an astrolabe and sand glass used by ancient Arabs.” … Read More

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“Hot Dudes Reading” Instagram Reverses the Male Gaze and Makes Print Books Sexy

Scattered throughout the history of Western art, one finds dozens of portraits of girls reading. In this popular pose, the male (or female) artist’s gaze focuses on the female subject, while her own gaze rests modestly on her book, unaware of the watcher. Now, a self-described “group of tight-knit friends” has reversed that classic male gaze — along with the troubling trend that has people turning away from reading books on the train in favor of screens. … Read More

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Flavorwire Exclusive: Read Two Never-Before-Seen Fairy Tales by the Grimms’ Favorite Folklorist

In March of 2012, the Guardian announced a major literary and cultural discovery: more than 500 new fairy tales had been unearthed in Germany. The haul of stories was vast, impressively so. It contained in its pages a new world of enchanted animals, magic and romance, legend, otherworldly creatures, parables about nature, and wild exaggeration. But there was something else. These tales had been collecting dust in a bunch of old boxes for more than 150 years. This dating is significant: it confirms that the tales are roughly contemporaneous with those of the Brothers Grimm. To be sure, this was an historic and unprecedented discovery. The woman who made it, a cultural curator and folklorist named Erika Eichenseer, compared the collection to “buried treasure.” … Read More

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A Sherlock Holmes Story Was Found in an Attic! And It’s Probably Fan-fiction

A man named Walter Elliot — an historian, writer, broadcaster, and amateur ethnographer of the Scottish border — has discovered a 1903 pamphlet with an unsigned contribution that is, maybe, a rediscovered Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I say “maybe” because it probably… Read More

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20 Female Harlem Renaissance Writers You Should Know

I’ll keep this brief: we know too little about the women of the Harlem Renaissance. The more I look into these poets, writers, dramatists, essayists, critics, social critics, young adult writers, and editors, the more astounded I am at their range and literary output. These women writers run the gamut of political perspectives, editorial and aesthetic approaches, and backgrounds and nationalities. Yet they all converged to create one of the richest periods in American literary history. Here’s to learning more, and please, if I’ve made any mistakes or omissions, include your notes in the comments. … Read More

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