The New Yorker

The Secret Truce in the Literary Genre Wars

Should young-adult, science fiction, and fantasy novels be considered works of literature? Is The Hunger Games a work of art? Does anyone care? Over the last couple of years, a handful of authors have pitched their tents in the no man’s land between “genre fiction” and “pure literature.” But the more intense the genre wars become, the more difficult it is to understand what it’s all about. Is it a question of what we should read? Is it a critical discussion about what counts as “literary quality” writing? Or is it a war of words over which books should be published? … Read More

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On Loving “Bad” People: Links You Need to See

With the polar vortex looking down on the East Coast and the sun setting on one of our last days of loveliness, perhaps we should be focusing on indoor activities: This may be a little old, but BuzzFeed’s piece about people’s pooping preferences is extremely timely and crucial. Most of us have been privately pooping since we were five or so, and thus our habits have solidified, let’s say, in isolation, without outside influence. There are some odd findings here; for example, 9% of those polled take off their shirts to poop. Not sure what purpose that serves, but you know, whatever…floats your boat. … Read More

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Move Over, James Franco: Tom Hanks Pens So-So Fiction for ‘New Yorker’

Move over James Franco and Steve Martin: you aren’t the only fiction-penning celebrities around. This week, The New Yorker features a short story by Tom Hanks — yes, that Tom Hanks — which seems to be heavily influenced by his time working on Apollo 13. While reading, I had do my very best to approach the story, a futuristic space-jaunt called “Alan Bean Plus Four”, as a lighthearted foray into fiction by a revered actor (director, screenwriter, producer, and cultural figure) and not as something I would mercilessly savage if I were in a fiction workshop and a “packet” of my peers’ writing had just arrived in my arms for a pre-class critique. … Read More

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Flavorwire Roundtable: Is Lena Dunham a Voice of a Generation in ‘Not That Kind of Girl’?

We are living through a golden age of the female-comedian memoir. Stoked by Chelsea Handler’s consistently bestselling memoirs about drinking and sex, the genre became a full-on trend with Tina Fey’s Bossypants in 2011. The latest example is Not That Kind of Girl, the debut book by Girls creator, writer, director, and lead actress Lena Dunham. Notable for garnering a $3.7 million advance and much attendant outrage, it’s filled with essays about the 28-year-old artist’s life so far, with subjects ranging from childhood to boys to work. So, beyond the hype, is Not That Kind of Girl any good? And is Dunham the voice of our generation — or a voice of a? Four Flavorwire staffers have four different… Read More

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Longform You Have to Read: Mary Gaitskill’s True Stories

In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re looking at the best of Mary Gaitskill’s nonfiction work. … Read More

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Longform You Have to Read: Race in America

In a world where you have more options for satisfying longform reading than ever, your friends here at Flavorwire are taking the time once a week to highlight some of the best that journalism and longform has to offer. Whether they’re unified by topic, publication, writer, being classic pieces of work, or just by a general feeling, these articles all have one thing in common: they’re essential reading. This week, we’re looking at writers wrestling with the topic of race in America. … Read More

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Why Book Criticism and Literary Culture Needs a Poptimist Revolution

When bestselling author Jennifer Weiner was profiled by The New Yorker in January 2014 in an article called “Written Off,” writer Rebecca Mead made sure to outline Weiner’s two audiences: one, the loyal readers of her books, who propel them onto the best-seller list, and number two, a pricklier sort, consisting of the “writers, editors, and critics… who have given Weiner a parallel notoriety, as an unlikely feminist enforcer.” The short version is that, through Twitter (and her following, which currently numbers about 93K), Weiner used her platform to needle such august institutions as The New York Times Book Review and everyplace else with mediocre VIDA counts regarding the amounts of space they give to reviewing and considering the three books that “matter” for the season written by male authors like Jonathan Franzen and Jeffrey Eugenides, while simultaneously ignoring the span of women’s writing, and, additionally, commercial fiction. … Read More

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‘The New Yorker’ Doesn’t Love ‘Broad City’ As Much As You Do

They already have a hit TV show and Amy Poehler’s stamp of approval, but this week arguably marks the point at which Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson have well and truly Made It: on top of everything else, they’ve now been immortalized in a New Yorker profile. Written by Nick Paumgarten, who charmingly billed himself as a “hockey dad” in his March piece on the Berlin EDM scene, the piece — which is paywalled but accessible here for those with subscriptions — is hardly a hit job. But it is a take on Glazer, Jacobson, and their web-series-turned-real-series by someone a few steps removed from its target demo of “naïve impertinent Millennials” (umlaut and capital M included, because it wouldn’t be The New Yorker without idiosyncratic house style). … Read More

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Flavorwire Interview: Adrian Tomine on Drawing Everyday People and Fantasies of Writing a Novel

Although he’s originally from California, if you look at any of Adrian Tomine’s many illustrations for publications named after the city that he currently calls home, it’s difficult to think of Tomine as anything other than a New York artist. His work for The New Yorker and New York magazine capture the everyday look and feel of contemporary New York City, with single scenes begging you to fill in the blanks for the rest of the story: the New Yorker out of his element (in this particular case, a Yankees fan in a sea of Red Sox caps), two readers on passing subways making eye contact, and the bored teenage tourist reading great literature set in the city instead of looking at the tourist destinations. If you’ve spent any prolonged amount of time here, Tomine’s illustrations are scenes with which you’re familiar. … Read More

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