Whether they be bad boys (or bad girls), dirty old men or just legendary party animals, there’s no denying that the literary set knows how to get down. From dance parties to book parties to whatever’s going on in that car, writers are adept at letting off steam, and so this year, we thought we’d get a little New Year’s celebration inspiration from a few of our favorite authors. And hey, if you’re still trying to figure out your signature cocktail at this late hour, you can model that on your favorite writer too. After the jump, raise a glass with everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Rita Dove to Nora Ephron. Happy New Year’s Eve, everybody. … Read More
So you think you want to work in media. We asked Jessica Grose, former Slate and Jezebel editor and author of this month’s Sad Desk Salad, what books she would recommend for anyone considering a career in blogging. She did us one better with this comprehensive list on the less glamorous side of publishing, advertising, and film — fields notorious for high burn out, abusive bosses, and soul-crushing competition.
Grose’ debut novel, the story of a young blogger who must decide just how much more she’ll compromise for her life in the media grind, is partially inspired by her own experiences as a stay-at-home writer. “There’s a way you can become a total weirdo couch gremlin when you don’t have to go outside and talk to people every day,” Grose told us. “It’s a bizarre phenomenon that can make you lose a little bit of perspective.” And the title, a reference to “prime-posting time” (or when cubicle dwellers chomp on their midday salads while scrolling celebrity gossip), came to her on her desk at Slate in late fall 2010. “I Tweeted something about having a sad desk salad, and the novelist and writer Lily Burana tweeted back to me something like, that would make a great novel title.”
Needless to say, anyone part of depressing desk-lunch culture will appreciate this story. And those with “sad media” jobs needn’t despair completely, for Grose offered this bit of affirmation: “If you think it’s a stepping stone for a job that is not sad and that you’d actually want some day, stick it out and suck it up; you won’t be there forever.” … Read More
“Spring has returned,” Rainer Maria Rilke famously wrote. “The Earth is like a child that knows poems.” Then again, if you ask Dorothy Parker, “Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.” Whichever side you take, this month will see great books popping up even faster than daisies and dandelions, and in some cases even making more noise than those fool birds. This month, settle in among the flowers with graphic memoirs, new novels from American legends, wine manuals from literary party boys, and lots of other stories great and small. Click through to read our list of must-reads for May, and let us know which books you’re most excited to read this month in the comments. … Read More
It’s almost the weekend, and we can bet that means you have at least one enticing soirée on your horizon. But will you party as hard as your favorite author? Literary history is filled with notoriously hard-partying writers, from the decadent Fitzgeralds, flouncing about in public fountains with their clothes on, to the permissive Beat poets, flouncing about in mixed company with their clothes off. Romantic, perhaps, but keep in mind that often the most reckless partiers paid for their indulgences in their health or creative ability, so revel with care. Click through to read our list and take some cues (or some warnings, more likely) from ten of the most notorious party animals in literary history, and let us know if we missed your favorite bon vivant or sultry bacchant in the comments. … Read More
Branding is all anyone can talk about these days. It’s how celebrities stay famous. It’s what Twitter is really for. It’s even what the last season of America’s Next Top Model was all about (besides Tyra Banks’s book, we mean). This week saw famed Bright Lights, Big City author Jay McInerney’s birthday — the renowned playboy is 57 years old, if you can believe it. Inspired by the persistence of the McInerney legend even after all these years, we thought we’d give you a brief outline of how to build a successful pop culture persona using two demonstrative models: the aforementioned Jay McInerney, poster boy of ’80s excess, and Lady Gaga, Queen of overblown contemporary pop. Click through to pick up a few helpful tips on how to build your pop culture persona based on these two tabloid legends, and make sure to send us a postcard from the top when you get there. … Read More
Although they only released two albums during their short run, Joy Division remains one of the most important and beloved bands of the late-’70s post-punk movement, influencing generations of cold, black-clad imitators. In the three decades since Ian Curtis’s death, he has become one of music’s darkest and most solemnly worshiped cult figures. He has been immortalized in countless books and films, printed on all kinds of T-shirts, and his song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” probably holds some kind of record for teenage mixtape overuse.
But even if you think you’ve seen enough of Joy Division to last you a lifetime, you’ll want to make space for Kevin Cummins’s Joy Division (Rizzoli New York, 2010), a book that combines the author’s striking black-and-white images of the band with photos of their instruments, set lists, and flyers, and Curtis’s lyrics and notebooks. … Read More
“Today I’ve made a major decision: I am never going to die. Others will die around me. They will be nullified. Nothing of their personality will remain. The light switch will be turned off.”
It got us thinking about our own favorite beginnings, both recent and classic. Below are some favorites from our bookshelf. Feel free to add your own picks in the comments section.
1. Slumberland by Paul Beatty
Best commentary on “post-blackness” considering Obama wasn’t even president when the book was written:
“You would think they’d be used to me by now. I mean don’t they know that after fourteen hundred years the charade of blackness is over? That we blacks, the once eternally hip, the people who were as right now as Greenwich Mean Time, are, as of today, as yesterday as stone tools, the velocipede, and the paper straw all rolled into one? The Negro is now officially human. Everyone, even the British, says so.” … Read More
When J.D. Salinger died last week at the age of 91, the Twitter- and the literatti aligned to mourn the reclusive writer. Charles McGrath wrote a touching obit in the New York Times; Lillian Ross waxed poetic in The New Yorker and Bret Easton Ellis, tweeted, “Yeah!! Thank God he’s finally dead. I’ve been waiting for this day for-fucking-ever. Party tonight!!!” Ah, the Twitterverse, where Chilon of Sparta’s maxim “Don’t speak ill of the dead” doesn’t apply, as long as you can do it in under 140 characters. We turned to the Twitterverse to see how other luminaries, literary and decidedly unliterary, marked Salinger’s passing*. … Read More
The relationships in Jay McInerney’s new short story collection How It Ended end pretty much as one would think — with tears, confession, self-hatred, or resignation. And in between there is that time-honored McInerney trope — drug use and impulsive sex. But something else emerges in these 26 stories, written in 26 different years. … Read More
According to MTV News, Harold Ramis says that plans for a Groundhog Day musical are moving forward. Contrary to popular cult opinion, we’ve always found that repetitive flick incredibly annoying, so we can only imagine what a Broadway version — especially with music from Stephen Sondheim — would do to us. Bleeding from the eyes and ears? It’s almost as silly as adapting a Green Day album for the stage. Oh wait. That one is happening too. … Read More