Books

Flavorwire Premiere: Soft Vision’s D.H. Lawrence-Inspired “Rocking Horse Winner”

Last month, Austin drone-pop duo Soft Vision released a striking 7″ called “Feel It Coming On”; its B-side was a song called “Willy Loman,” named for the protagonist of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Now the harmonious synth act, comprised of Kelly Winchester and Bradley Barr, offers up the opening track to their self-titled debut EP, out next week on Acoustic Division’s new pop counterpart, Hi-Definition. It, too, finds its inspiration in one of 20th-century literature’s famous working-class families: D.H. Lawrence’s 1926 short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner.” Flavorwire is pleased to premiere the song, below.

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Claudia Rankine’s ‘Citizen’ Should Win the National Book Award for Poetry

“I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.”
—Zora Neale Hurston 

The cover of Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric throws the hood of a sweatshirt against a sharp white background. The hood is threadbare; its symbolic weight is considerable: it immediately brings to mind images of young black life and its execution, as well as the deliberate, systematic imprisonment of millions of black citizens. And juxtaposed with the uppercased title — CITIZEN — this hood, torn from its body, is shot through with consequence: it becomes a metaphorical citizen, with alienable rights, ripped from the body politic and hanged — in a gallery. As a political maneuver that fronts a book of poetry, the placement of the hood beams with the contradictions of our historical moment — Trayvon Martin wears a hoodie and is ruthlessly murdered; Mark Zuckerberg wears a hoodie to the launch of his IPO and earns a billion dollars. So it’s all the more shocking when you realize that the hood is actually an artwork (“In the Hood”) by David Hammons from 1993, exhibited one year after the LA riots. … Read More

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“Monty Python Mixed With Anger”: Bob Odenkirk on His Funny Book ‘A Load of Hooey’

In his new McSweeney’s book A Load of Hooey, comedy genius Bob Odenkirk gives you the giggles with a series of bite-sized poems, essays, and stories that are gleefully absurd and very, very funny. There are one-star Internet reviews (on the Bible: “the only magic power the Jesus character had for me was the power to conquer insomnia!!”), silly poetry (“I Found a Jackson Pollock!”), and famous quotes and important advice (“So You Want to Get a Tattoo!”: Step 3: Do Not Be Drunk and in a Hurry). … Read More

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John Grisham Says Drunk, Old White Men Shouldn’t Be Put in Jail For Downloading Underage Porn

John Grisham is a real life lawyer. John Grisham has written a bunch of books about fake lawyers. So,… Read More

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50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked

Hollywood is famous for its treatment of writers. They are the low man on the totem pole, the person banned from the set, the guy who wrote the Great American novel drinking himself to death in Los Angeles, rewriting dumb scripts. It’s funny, as Hollywood is also obsessed with portraying “writers” on screen. Flavorwire’s definitive, ranked list of the 50 Best Films About Writers of all time features the requisite mix of biopics, book adaptations (what’s up Stephen King and John Irving), foreign films that actually feature female writers, po-mo meta surrealist studies of madness (very frequent), and the works of Woody… Read More

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National Book Award Finalists Announced

Book awards season! We had our Man Booker Winner announced yesterday (not an American, the commonwealth is safe, etc.), and… Read More

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Overanalyzing Cary Elwes’ New ‘Princess Bride’ Book for Traces of Shade

The Dread Pirate Roberts, aka Westley the farm boy, aka dreamboat Cary Elwes, the very first crush of probably a whole generation of girls (myself included), has a new book out called As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales From the Making of The Princess Bride. It is a charming, funny memoir, filled with the then-23-year-old’s reminiscences of just what it was like to make a classic and to go drinking with Andre the Giant. It’s also a really “nice” book, characterized by sweet, “we were all friends” memories, to the point that it’s hard not to muck around for the subtext: Who was Elwes in love with? Who did he kind of, sort of hate? It’s time to break down the veiled shade in every bit of this family fun. … Read More

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10 Mind-Altering Philosophy Books from 2014

Philosophy books often don’t get their due. They’re usually long, often badly written, frequently pompous and annoying, and sometimes even poorly edited. But 2014 has been a hallmark year for works of philosophy that can genuinely impact your life (even in the immediate future) without becoming self-help nonsense. These books deal try to change what is possible in politics, sex, feminism, art, and more. … Read More

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