“Why can’t we keep our literary heroes where they belong, at the top of the bookshelf next to all the others? And why must we ache for their approval, their admiration, their love?” Alex Gilvarry posts about writers who dare to approach their literary heroes for the Paris Review Daily.
Over at Bloom today, a sneak look at an excerpt from Viet Thanh Nguyen's The Sympathizer, featured this week on the cover of the NY Times Sunday Book Review and out April 7. Writes Philip Caputo, Nguyen "brings a distinct perspective" to the Vietnam War that "reaches beyond its historical context to illuminate more universal themes."
Alex Stone reviews Guns N’ Roses founding member Duff McKagan’s memoir, It’s So Easy. It’s a book, Stone writes, that’s “intoxicating — in a pancreas-wrenching sort of way.” Bonus: McKagan’s Year in Reading for our site back in 2011.
Half-meme, half-myth, 'Slender Man' came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet 'evidence'. As one Something Awful blogger put it, "Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?" Very meta--and very scary, all over again.
Get to know the ins and outs of bookstore reading etiquette with this helpful guide (featuring none other than Jonathan Franzen) illustrated by Kate Gavino. Gavino, whose book Last Night's Reading: Illustrated Encounters with Extraordinary Authors is out now, got her start with a wildly successful Tumblr account.
Friday would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday, which is why Dan Piepenbring, at The Paris Review Daily, looked back on one of Bradbury's classic stories and picked out some choice quotes from his Art of Fiction interview. Piepenbring also pointed out that the story gets a mention in, among other places, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. You could supplement this by reading Tanjil Rashid on the author’s Middle East connection.
Feeling a bit too happy lately? Want to be utterly bummed out? Then read through this assortment of depressing graphs, provided by Rebecca Makkai. They include graphs about MFAs, a bar graph about book clubs, and a pie chart expressing the probability that you are Alice Munro.