Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!, (who I interviewed last February) is having a very good year. She has a spot on the NYT list of the 10 Best Books of 2011, and last month HBO optioned the novel for what they describe as a “half hour comedy series.”
“I am very fortunate to be involved in a number of supportive communities who rally when things like this happen – but rarely do I laugh quite as hard as I did when reading Avid Reader’s responses.” The Guardian has the uplifting story of how an independent Australian bookstore “took on anti-feminist trolls and won.” If for some reason, after reading that, you want to wade into an equally polarized comments section, scroll down to the conversation following Daniel Jose Ruiz‘s recent piece on geekdom and race.
“An appeal for the revival of the negative book review, then, is a remonstration against forced and foppish praise, where everything is good and so nothing at all is good.” In The Baffler, Rafia Zakaria writes in praise of negative book reviews and decries the “enfeebling of literary criticism.” From our archives: our own Emily St. John Mandel writes about bad book reviews.
Last week, I wrote about the disparity between Norman Rockwell’s inner life and the cheerful art that made the painter famous. In the new issue of The Atlantic, James Parker writes about the “unconscious energy” of Rockwell’s work, while on the magazine’s website, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz republishes an old article that examines how Rockwell’s style could seem outdated even in the fifties.
There is good news for those of us whose dreams of artistic superstardom don’t seem to be panning out — a job listing from McSweeney’s seeking failed artists for an associate position. “We would hate for you to be pretentious,” the listing states, “but if you don’t regularly call other people pretentious — this might not be the job for you.”