“What made The Great Gatsby so great? Does everyone think he’s that great? Why?” Just in time for the back-to-school rush: essay questions from a teacher who didn’t finish any of the required reading (a.k.a. McSweeney’s).
The Size Queens re-conceptualize the album with their release of To The Country, a hybrid iBook/album whose “interpenetrations of song, text, and image” aim to generate new narrative forms. Band member/author Adam Klein writes: “We create these imagined worlds together, simultaneously uncontaminated and corrupted, through metaphor and code. ‘The country’ and the new world of applications are always polyvalent; it is impossible to make them remain at our service.” Also! This textual/aural collaboration features original stories by Lynne Tillman, Rick Moody, Maria Bustillos, and Joy Williams (first line reads: "Daddy didn’t want to be a social being and he didn’t want us to be social beings so here we are.") Download To The Country here (it’s free!) and read/listen/weep.
In the Atlantic's annual fiction supplement, Joyce Carol Oates writes about the loss of her husband of 48 years and the split identity of the well-known writer: "My job at the university is to impersonate 'Joyce Carol Oates' [...] this quasi-public self [...] is scarcely visible to me, as a mirror-reflection, seen up close, is scarcely visible to the viewer."
Want to catch up on John Updike in a single summer?Dick Cavett reminisces about the time Updike and John Cheever appeared on his talk show... together.Clancy Martin on his failed attempt to become the world's largest maker of Fauxbergé eggs and how he evaded the Russian police.Ward Sutton literalizes the idea of the cartoonish critique at the Barnes & Noble Review. First up: T.C. Boyle's The Women.Street artists smell a conspiracy around the recent arrest of "Hope"-monger Shepard Fairey, the artist formerly known as Giant.On the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran, our friend Porochista Khakpour looks back.WNYC presents streaming audio (mp3 link) of Zadie Smith's NYPL talk on then-President-elect Obama.Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan raves about Yu Hua's Brothers.More heads roll in the publishing industry.How close did we come to economic apocalypse?Glamorous publishing people: "No, there is no glamour left in publishing."Food for your ears: "The Dinner Party Download is a fast and funny 'booster shot' of unconventional news, cuisine and culture to help you win this weekend's dinner party." Sarah Shun-lien Bynum was a recent guest.Amid stimulus package largess, arts getting left out in the cold.Epilogue, a new mag that marries short writings, art, and music.File under: links you probably don't need to click on
“As energy loss is an unavoidable fact of mechanics — no mechanism can be 100% efficient, and the best a designer can do is manage the loss as productively as possible — so translation loss is similarly unavoidable,” explains Mark Davie, who recently translated Galileo’s Selected Writings. But what if the “energy loss” isn’t a failure of the work’s translator so much as a failure of the organization commissioning (or failing to commission) the translation? What if, as is the case for much Arabic literature, “the process [of selecting works for translation] is based on a political consideration” that deprives Western readers of the best Arabic literary work?
“It can not be that I monopolize / The making of the songs that give you praise / Or that such pools as are your dearest eyes / Have just one bather through the unclear days. / Then, let me take my place amid the pack, / If I so pack my songs with your rare worth / There were no quality they then should lack / But they were bettered by that happy death.” A previously unpublished Ezra Pound sonnet selling at auction is always newsworthy–especially when it fetches nearly $12,000. Here is a related Millions piece about the difficult poetry of Ezra Pound, John Berryman, and Ted Berrigan.