Perhaps Girls isn’t seen through a philosophical lens often enough: it’s certainly seen through the outrage-over-privilege lens, it’s certainly seen through a… Read More
The New York Times “Bookends” column asked in September whether this is a “golden age for women essayists,” as some of the most talked-about nonfiction releases of the year — Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, to start — happen to have been written by women. They’re also books that are probing, searching, and at points, confessional. … Read More
If you’re seeing more Bob Dylan than usual on your reader or social media of choice, it’s not by accident; we just saw the release of The Basement Tapes Complete, the 11th volume of his official “bootleg series,” and one of the most legendary recordings to bear that stamp. But this six-disc, 139-track epic might be a little overwhelming if you’re a Dylan neophyte, or even just a casual admirer. So as a public service, we’ve assembled a syllabus of required Dylan-inspired reading, with links to those available online for your immediate perusal. … Read More
It’s a commonplace that our lives are mediated through film and television and screens and everything else, but few writers acknowledge this condition by inverting it, by taking control of their mediation through fiction. It’s a relief, then, to come across Our Secret Life in the Movies, a collection of stories by Michael McGriff and J. M. Tyree (published this month by A Strange Object). The setup for the book: the two authors watch countless Criterion Collection films and immediately write two stories in response to each. Yet McGriff and Tyree avoid the hazards of the “clever little book” by virtue of the quality of their fictions, the range of the book’s emotional response, and, yes, the cinephilic nature of their story selections. It all makes for light yet serious and rewarding reading.
In the short stories below, McGriff and Tyree riff on Lars von Trier’s Antichrist, that film you either love to hate or hate to tirelessly defend. Enjoy. … Read More
In 1897, Bram Stoker popularized the vampire with his gothic horror novel Dracula, inspiring countless interpretations of the undead figure that feasts on the blood of victims. The Irish author’s other works have largely been overlooked, but we’re celebrating the writer’s birthday with a collection of other Stoker tales that deserve your attention. Within these stories, Stoker’s interest in science, drama, and fantasy spring to life and ignite the imagination. … Read More
If you’re worrying about the health of new literary projects: don’t. Although it may seem as if we’re stuck with the perpetual reinvention of old institutions (and there’s nothing exactly wrong with that), things are, in reality, speeding along quite nicely when it comes to new, literary quality publications. There are so many tantalizing forthcoming (and just-begun) projects, in fact, with a variety of refreshing approaches, that we put together this primer to get you ready. These publications promise to deliver the best personal and literary essays, poetry, interviews, and academic… Read More
If it wasn’t obvious that Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp — the creators of the super-endearing and charming cult figure Marcel the Shell, star of video and bookstores — were an adorably married couple in real life, Fleischer-Camp gave it away during an October interview at the Flavorwire offices where he just gazed at Slate while she explained her comedy: “My jokes are usually really gross things said with an open heart and a smile, and if you take away the open heart and the smile it’s just me being, like, stinky butt!” … Read More
This is the first entry in a new series that looks at contemporary publishing through the lens of how new books are written or made, especially by younger writers, and how these writers “make it” over the hurdles set by a competitive industry.
Sarah Gerard’s debút novel, Binary Star, won’t be released until next January, but already several young, established authors—including Kate Zambreno, Jenny Offill, and Justin Taylor—are offering their praises. The novel tells the story of a young woman who struggles with anorexia, and the road trip she takes across America with her alcoholic boyfriend. I’d also mention that it deals with veganarchism and the birth and death of stars. … Read More
The Samuel Beckett we’re taught in America is solitary, dryly humorous, and existentially distressed: basically, he’s an absurdist playwright from a Charlie Kaufman movie. Beyond this, we may know him as a writer of unerringly spare and despairing prose — of the sort that literally gives Salman Rushdie a headache — or as James Joyce’s assistant, or as the guy who drove Andre the Giant to school each day. But we do not, generally speaking, appreciate him as poet. This is regrettable, not only because Beckett began his career as a poet in Paris — and continued writing poetry for the rest of his life — but also because his poetry strips down and by some means intensifies the qualities that imbue his drama and novels. And by this I mean that Samuel Beckett’s poetry wrests a negative infinity out of words without appearing to do much of anything at all. … Read More