When my friends ask me to recommend a work of “contemporary literature,” I often tell them about Karl Ove Knausgaard or Nell Zink or Ben Lerner. But mostly I talk about Knausgaard. Now, I realize that my friends only want a “good book” written recently — a work of contemporary fiction — but I can’t help recommending Knausgaard’s books on a slightly different basis, one that mischievously fulfills the criterion: Knausgaard’s My Struggle volumes are assertively contemporary, even if I’m not always sure what that means.
“Alt Lit Is Dead,” wrote Gawker’s Allie Jones on October 3rd, after a string of allegations of rape and sexual abuse drove some of the Internet’s better-known male editors and writers — men who effectively served as Alt Lit’s gatekeepers — into hiding. Without question, it was clear that whatever Alt Lit was, it was in trouble. It seemed that the speed with which the allegations came, their range and corroborative power, would surely disperse a scene that seemed cloud-like and amorphous to begin with.
The proclamation of Alt Lit’s death coincided with the revelation that despite a veneer of difference, it bore a depressing resemblance to many literary movements that preceded it: it was maintained by a gaggle of male overlords who oversaw the publication of its writers — sometimes, it was alleged, on the basis of sexual coercion. But was Alt Lit anything more than these male overlords? And if so, does their downfall mean that the scene is dead?
The debate as to whether the Internet is good or bad for literature doesn’t seem any closer to resolution now than when it began, years ago, but the fact remains that some people in the literary world are excellent at using social media and other platforms to communicate with readers and get people interested in what they’re writing. Some are young authors, others are firmly established. Some are publishing industry veterans or new media superstars, others command small armies via their Tumblrs. Whatever it is they do on the Internet, these 35 people do it better than anybody else in the book …Read More
Listicles, tweets, your ex’s Facebook status, picture of dogs wearing costumes — the internet offers no shortage of entertaining stuff to look at. But there’s plenty of substantial writing out there, too, the pieces you spend a few minutes reading and a long time thinking about after you’ve closed the tab. In this weekly feature, Flavorwire shares the best of that category. This week, debut novelists share their stories, Tao Lin goes to see Karl Ove Knausgaard talk with Zadie Smith, and lots of dogs.
As everyone knows, 2013 was the year of the selfie, something we’ve all groaned over, bemoaning the state of kids today. But selfies aren’t just for moody teenagers — they’re also employed by moody writers! Not to mention, it seems, just about everybody else. After the jump, secretly revel in a little collection of famous authors’ selfies, both vintage and recent, serious and totally goofy. And if any of your favorites are missing here, add ’em on in the comments. Can’t have too many selfies.
Five years ago this month saw the publication of Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 in English. The book topped almost every year-end list and signaled a shift in literary tastes, creating larger audiences for works in translation, historical storylines, and narrative complexity. Between the uncertain future of the publishing industry, the rise of indie presses, new literary magazines, and the Internet and ereaders, the years that followed were bittersweet for the book industry but also a unique and fruitful time for readers. The following 50 books provide several clues as to why that is, and also give a glimpse into the future of …Read More
What’s better than a signed copy of your favorite book? Why, an inscribed copy of your favorite book, of course, preferably straight from the hand of your favorite author. While some authors tend to sign books with a simple “my best” or “thanks for reading,” others push the envelope a little more, and — especially with an author notorious for his or her humor — a signature seeker may be blessed with a quip, a bizarre turn of phrase, or even (the holy grail) a little doodle. After the jump, Flavorwire has tracked down a selection of famous authors’ amusing missives, drawings, and insults (produced upon request) as written in the first pages of their books. Check them out after the jump, and feel free to add your own in the comments.