Many people already love their books as they would pieces of art – why else would we so proudly display books we will never read again on our bookshelves in our tiny New York apartments instead of boxing them away? We tell ourselves it’s in case we ever want to lend them or reference a passage or reread them, but it’s really because we love them as objets d’art, and want to look at them all day long. To that end, Jennie Ottinger creates hollowed-out, redesigned and painted-over versions of classic novels, replacing their guts with pithy summaries she gleans from SparkNotes. Ottinger’s idea is that in our busy, harried world, we don’t really have time to take in all the cultural input we would like to/are supposed to. We’re tempted to be horrified by this brusque treatment of literature, but we kind of love these faux-books. Ottinger just closed a show at Johansson Projects in Oakland, but a few of her pieces are on display in NYC until February 26 in the book-themed exhibition “Ex Libris” at the Adam Baumgold Gallery. Click through for more images of her work. … Read More
Even some of literature’s most iconic authors were responsible for behavior more befitting a barroom brawl than intellectual provocation. In Writers Gone Wild, Bill Peschel has culled together the most notorious embarrassments, love affairs, and addictions of beloved literary heroes. In honor of the infamous feud that overshadowed recent Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa’s relationship with fellow laureate Gabriel García Márquez for 30 years, here are five other instances where the sword pulverized the less-than-mighty pen. … Read More
Excellent authors avoid writing cliches. The problem is that some of these very authors do not apply the same level of vigilance when it comes to taking promotional photographs, whether they’re for magazine profiles or back-of-the-book biographies. In an attempt to look uniquely profound yet accessible, or convey some novel combination of deep thoughts with good times, a lot of writers end up looking exactly the same as their peers. It doesn’t matter if the authors are well-established or just scheduling their first panel discussion — all are susceptible to producing hackneyed images.
Since we don’t expect authors to be virtuosos in every medium, we thought we’d take a critical look at five categories of promotional-author photography as a warning for all future writers who want to break out of the formula. … Read More
In addition to being an actor/artist/director/model/writer/student, James Franco is also an avid reader. How he finds time to do it all, we’re not sure. Apparently, his next project, after finishing his four Master’s degrees and acting in a bunch of upcoming films like Rise of the Apes, is to earn his PhD from Yale. If all goes according to plan, someday soon hordes of young men and women will have the option of enrolling in a class taught by Professor Franco.
In anticipation, we’ve put together a potential reading list that might appear on his syllabus. All of the following ten books have been either explicitly endorsed by the energetic young man or seen accompanying him on breaks in-between shoots. … Read More
The Wright Stuff?: Lionsgate has nabbed the rights to Loving Frank, a piece of historical fiction by Nancy Horan that explores the famous architect’s affair with Chicago socialite Mamah Borthwick Cheney. John Burnham Schwartz — who previously worked on Reservation Road — will write the script, and judging from this picture, we’d cast another Frank (Langella) in the lead role. It’s funny, once we started thinking about it, we realized that there aren’t too many architects in the movies. [Variety] … Read More