It’s imperative to begin this links roundup with some some photos of breathtaking bookstores, because this is the internet, on which people write about things that aren’t at all imperative — like looking at photos of breathtaking bookstores — as if they were. Apart from providing listicle opportunities, bookstores (which happen to be “hanging in there” despite the changing technologies behind the act of reading) also contain books, which contain information, likely spanning the history of the entire world. What they might not contain, however, is the otherworldly news of the just-revealed, very very silly name of Andy Serkis’ character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Said very very silly name in question is: Supreme Leader Snoke. … Read More
Now that its arrival is only a matter of days away (June 2nd), it’s safe to say that Colin Winnette’s Haints Stay — a deconstructed Western praised by Sam Lipsyte, Saeed Jones, and Lindsay Hunter, among many others, and published by the unimpeachable Two Dollar Radio — is the most anticipated independent novel of the summer. And, frankly, it may be the most anticipated American independent novel since Sarah Gerard’s Binary Star (which we told you about several times and praised on its way to widespread acclaim). Certainly we’ve been thinking about Winnette’s book since January, when I called it “a work by an assured writer who is on the verge of something important” — Haints Stay proves he’s no longer on the verge.
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For as long as there have been reviews and blurbs and publicists, the phrase “This summer’s [insert name of last year’s bestseller]” has been beguiling — and assaulting — readers from the catalogs and roundups that roll out around this time each year. In the aughts, for instance, wave after wave of empowered, transformative female characters set the standard against which other novels were marketed. In 2004 and 2005, any frothy, sartorial saga that hinted at the indignities of working as an underling was “This summer’s The Devil Wears Prada.” In 2006 and 2007, tales of ass-kicking punkettes on the fringes of society were inevitably “This summer’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In 2008 and 2009, any woebegone memoir of triumph-through-travel was “This summer’s Eat, Pray, Love.” In 2009 and 2010, any injustices in small-town America were “This summer’s The Help.” And since then, every novel that hints at an unreliable narrator, that presupposes that marriage is not all hand-holding and dream-sharing, that lets a lady go off the rails and takes us along for the ride, is, of course, “This summer’s Gone… Read More
Aquarius should, for many viewers, be the series to watch this summer. It’s a dark-ish 1960s crime drama full of hippies and dope, it loosely shoves Charles Manson at the center of it all, and it stars the always-great David Duchovny as the main detective who stumbles across Manson (Gethin Anthony) and co., making for a surely engaging cat-and-mouse game that brings together fiction and reality. Yet it doesn’t seem to achieve the highs that you’d hope for, at least not in the first two episodes that premiere tonight; still, the full 13-episode series will be available online on May 29, because NBC is taking an odd bet on the fact that people will want to binge-watch it. … Read More
Nell Zink’s second novel, Mislaid, announces her as one of a handful of the best novelists on the American scene. More satirical, willfully magisterial, and, yes, even earnest than The Wallcreeper — a debut that was far more earnest than even its admirers admit — Mislaid draws its immense humor and literary ingenuity from the postwar American South, that weird, melodramatic dispositif of class, race, and gender lines that strains to confine our lives even today. By the end of Mislaid, the satire dissolves into parody, or vice versa, leaving a cast of characters — of human animals in a habitat — who have rearranged their limitations, in a way that may offend many readers, in order to pursue better, shared lives. … Read More
All things considered, it’s pretty silly to get worked up over the snubs and slights of the Oscars — it’s an awards ceremony that just plain gets things wrong, and always has. But it still rankled most sensible viewers to see Eddie Redmayne’s awards-courting turn in the decidedly mediocre Theory of Everything take Best Actor when David Oyelowo couldn’t even land a nomination for his masterful performance in Selma. It doesn’t ultimately matter, of course; that’s not only a performance that will last, but one of many from the actor. And here’s another: in the HBO original movie Nightingale (premiering tomorrow night) he performs something of an actor’s decathlon, inhabiting the picture’s only onscreen speaking role for 82 minutes. It’s an astonishing piece of work. … Read More
If you’ve been jonesing for worldwide fame and recognition, right now is your chance: Game of Thrones is looking to cast some unknowns for season six. If you fit the bill of “Priestess,” “Pirate,” or “one of the greatest soldiers in Westeros,” drop out of medical school or whatever else you’re doing this instant and go to the casting call. Or, you can just forever keep being an Ordinary Person (OP), only remembered in old family photos or in unflattering, hyperreal sculptures by Duane Hanson like these other OPs. Look, when you’re famous (like Lena Dunham), you can post photos of yourself in your lingerie on Instagram and get almost 100,000 likes. Just like that. So what are you waiting for? … Read More
Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments. … Read More
Anna North’s new novel, The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, examines the impact of a tenacious but difficult young filmmaker through the narration of those who loved her. “I really just imagined her as a filmmaker from the very beginning,” North says of Sophie, a character she’d been thinking about for years before she sat down to write the novel. “I was interested in having her be someone whose art draws from life.” But what North didn’t want was to write about a writer, so she chose to explore an art form that was visual and documentarian.
In an interview with Flavorwire, North shared her recommendations for books and films about female artists that she loves, many of which informed her thinking as she created Sophie and her troubled, compelling world. … Read More
The 2014-15 season just ended, but we won’t even get a chance to catch our breath before the summer TV season kicks into high gear. We’ve already had plenty of highs and lows in May, and the next three months are going to keep it up with nonstop programming. From the much-anticipated return of addictive series like Orange Is the New Black, Pretty Little Liars, Hannibal, and BoJack Horseman to a variety of new series — science-fiction dramas, reality shows, and fun comedies — there is no shortage of television to keep you indoors during those too-hot days. Here is Flavorwire’s rundown of the most notable series to mark down on your calendar. … Read More