In the course of creating our list of New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers, we reached out to a few of said figures to ask them a couple questions, including the query of the hour: “How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?” We got a lot of responses — some quippy, some heartfelt, some sad, some glad (it’s true), and more than one with a theory on Roth’s true plans, which any of you in mourning will be glad to attach yourselves to. See what writers like Junot Díaz, Gay Talese, A.M. Homes and Gary Shteyngart had to say about the great man’s retirement after the jump — and if you’re so inclined, share your own, less famous feelings in the comments. … Read More
Oh, Jonathan Franzen, whatever will we do with you? We love you, we hate you, we love to love and hate you. ”A Rooting Interest,” Franzen’s recent essay in The New Yorker, has stirred up a fair bit of controversy: the essay is a celebration of Edith Wharton on the occasion of her 150th birthday, but though he purports to admire her work deeply, he doesn’t seem to like her very much — or at least, have very much sympathy for her.
Franzen writes, “I suspect that sympathy, or its absence, is involved in almost every reader’s literary judgments. Without sympathy, whether for the writer or for the fictional characters, a work of fiction has a very hard time mattering.” While it’s relatively universally known that in order for a work of fiction to be enjoyable, the reader has to find some point of sympathy with at least one of the characters, it’s not so clear that the same is true about the character of the author. … Read More
Artists love other artists. Perhaps there is an electric connection between two people whose minds are always whirring, or literary snobs can’t bear to date laymen, or perhaps for some writers, the only way they know their partner will understand them is if that person is also a writer. No matter what it is, there’s something powerful about a couple on the same team in the same industry. Plus, everybody loves a celebrity couple, and we particularly love literary celebrity couples. We like to imagine their arguments as poetic and their children as geniuses, and their lives spent sitting around in oaken rooms drinking brandy and scribbling between loving looks. Well, maybe that’s not realistic. But to each their own celebrity fantasy, right? Click through for our list of ten of our favorite real-life literary power couples — and let us know which ones we’ve missed in the comments! … Read More
Yesterday, The Awl pointed out a list on Kikolani.com of the top 125 Fearless Female Bloggers. It’s a long list, but we felt that it might not be quite long enough — some of our favorite music bloggers, feminist muckrakers, and snarky opinionistas didn’t make the cut. Sisters aren’t just doin’ it for themselves, you know. So, of course, we decided to make a list of our own. Below the jump are our picks for 10 fearless female bloggers. … Read More
Well, is she? It may seem unfair to ask a 28-year-old writer to carry the entire burden of Gen Y on her shoulders, but that’s how her publisher is selling ex-Gawker editor Emily Gould’s first book, the personal essay collection And the Heart Says Whatever, so we don’t feel bad holding her to it. Still, it’s a harder question to ask than to answer. … Read More
Richard Lawson, recapper extraordinaire, started off at Gawker in the ad sales department. Doubling — unbeknownst to anyone in office — as a Gawker commenter via online alter ego Lolcait, his comment contributions (in part thanks to a slight lapse in etiquette by Foxy Brown) caused a veritable internet sensation. When Lawson eventually revealed his identity, he rose through the Gawker ranks: first selecting “best comment of the week,” and later plucked from sales into editorial. Since his holy ascension, the epic recaps he has crafted of Real Housewives, Real World, NYC Prep, The Hills, Gossip Girl, et al. have been an enormous success. Showcasing brilliant farce and sweeping narrative, Lawson has inspired inappropriately loud guffaws in offices across the land. He has recently left Gawker for TV.com, and he’s taken Sereenz, Garbanzo Bean, and Ol’ Crackerjacks with him.… Read More
On Friday night the New Museum and n + 1 bring you The ’90s vs. the ’90s, a panel talk that will include Michael Azerrad, Mark Greif, Emily Gould, A.S. Hamrah, Marisa Meltzer, and Aaron Lake Smith, and will examine the legacy of the decade’s pop culture touchstones — from the “Dirty Boots” video to Kurt Cobain’s suicide note to those Tickle Me Elmo dolls — on who we are today. After the jump we talk to Aaron, whose popular fanzines Big Hands have been called “an ongoing treatise on disappointment,” about the ubiquitous obsession with Generation X, the WTO riots in Seattle, and the blue hair he rocked back in high school. … Read More