While writing by hand may be high risk work, the writer-typists among us face some tough decisions: what font should one employ? Do you need software to keep you from being distracted? Is it time yet for a distraction?
Our friends at Electric Literature are Kickstarting Papercuts, “a party game for the rude and well-read.” We would’ve pledged anyway, but this pitch sealed the deal: “It’s what Kurt Vonnegut, James Baldwin, and Virginia Woolf would play if they were alive, locked in a room together, and forced to play a card game.” This Cards Against Humanity for the literary set will be delivered in time for Christmas, so keep it in mind for your erudite stocking stuffer needs.
Heaven forbid someone ever draws parallels between your writing and that of “Robert Rabelais the Younger.” For his work, published in the nineteenth century, has been described as “the most appallingly bad epic poem to have ever been written in English, comprised of 384 interminable pages of doggerel verse devoid of any literary merit, an opus d’odure that screams stinkburger.” (And that’s one of the more positive evaluations.)
Who invented ska music? John Jeremiah Sullivan traces the history of the genre in his latest essay for The Oxford American. “The more the claims for Rosco Gordon’s supremacy as a ska progenitor seem not out of proportion, and the less crazy it feels to say that, in a sense, ska was born in Tennessee.” Pair with: Sullivan’s essay on Bunny Wailer, who makes a cameo in his ska essay.
The huge, McSweeney’s-published, John Sayles novel A Moment in the Sun has been getting great reviews. It’s now out. Also new this week is China Mieville’s Embassytown, reviewed here today; Paul Theroux’s exploration of the genre of travel writing, The Tao of Travel; prizewinning Nigerian author Helon Habila’s new novel Oil on Water; and A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman, the complete stories of Margaret Drabble, recently written up by Joyce Carol Oates in the New Yorker. New in paperback are a pair of Millions Hall of Famers, Emma Donoghue’s Room and Justin Cronin’s The Passage.
In 2006, Gene Luen Yang became the first graphic novelist to be nominated for a National Book Award. Yang earned a nomination in the Young People’s Literature category for the graphic novel American Born Chinese. Now Yang has been nominated a second time, again in the Young People’s Literature category, for a new book, Boxers and Saints. Francoise Mouly and Mina Kaneko talk with Yang at Page-Turner. (You can also read our interview.)