“[Maria] Bamford’s newest show…is a more polished product, but equally radical—as unsettling as anything Andy Kaufman ever did.” Is the Internet the comedy world’s final frontier?
"[T]hat might be what liberal readers needs right now: Not just portraits of the Brexit and Trump-voting domestic Other, but a clearer sense of their own worldview’s limits, blind spots, blunders and internal contradictions." The New York Times's Ross Douthat assembles a "Books for the Trump Era" reading list, including Michel Houellebecq’s Submission, Christopher Lasch's The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, and Samuel P. Huntington's Who Are We? The Challenges to American National Identity. You can also read our own review of Houellebecq's latest here.
Writing about a foreign country is always a dodgy proposition, but it seems to be especially thorny when English people and Americans take on their transatlantic brethren. Looking over two contributions to the genre by English writers -- Terry Eagleton’s Across the Pond and A.A. Gill’s To America With Love -- Carlin Romano concludes that neither manages to “teach us something new about ourselves.”
As part of its 2013 literary awards, the PEN American Center will grant nearly $150,000 to writers, editors, and translators through sixteen different awards and fellowships, and for the first time ever they’ve decided to publish their shortlist online. Among the finalists is Sergio De La Pava, whose novel A Naked Singularity is up for the $25,000 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for a debut work. You might recall our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s profile of De La Pava last summer, and you can catch a glimpse of the author’s next book on our Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
"If [Langston] Hughes and Cullen were competitors, of sorts, for the prize of principal African American poet of their generation, Cullen may have had an early lead, and during the later 1920s and early 1930s they were often discussed in tandem." At The Boston Review, Major Jackson takes a look at the career and legacy of Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen.
Steven Soderbergh is interested in bringing The Sot-Weed Factor – John Barth’s “750-plus-page satire of picaresque novels” – to the big, silver or computer screen. You should start getting excited about this if you’re from Maryland, interested in literature, or tickled by the word “beshit.”