Pop quiz! What out-of-print book is more sought after by inquiring readers than any other? (Here’s a hint, before you click through and find out the depressing answer: the book is not a work of fiction.)
“She didn’t even want to be anything. She just wanted to be able to sit in a room and not feel tortured by it, which is sort of the human condition in general. Eileen isn’t dreaming of leaving home and making it in the big city on Broadway. She just wants to go and eat a banana, you know?” Ottessa Moshfegh on her new novel, Eileen, for The Rumpus.
Willard Spiegelman’s provocative essay in the VQR’s recent State of American Poetry issue, “Has Poetry Changed?” incited quite a few responses. One of the better rejoinders came from William Childress, whose response, “Is Free Verse Killing Poetry,” raises some excellent points. “Poetry needs readers, not writers,” writes Childress. “But how many poets read any poetry but their own?”
The British critic, essayist, and novelist John Berger died yesterday at his home in France, reports The New York Times. Probably best known for his book of art-criticism-as-philosophy Ways of Seeing, which was turned into a popular BBC series and sold more than a million copies, Berger also won the Booker prize for G. in 1972 and was nominated again in 2008 for an epistolary novel, From A to X. The Guardian has rounded up some of his quotes, including the apt-feeling "[h]ope is not a form of guarantee; it’s a form of energy, and very frequently that energy is strongest in circumstances that are very dark.”
According to Steve Denning at Forbes, "the U.S. has lost or is on the verge of losing its ability to develop and manufacture a slew of high-tech products." He says the U.S. will never be able to manufacture a Kindle on its own soil. But if the environmental cost of producing just one e-reader, as VQR's Ted Genoways says, is "roughly the same as fifty books," why would anyone want to?
Year in Reading alum Maud Newton has a new short story up on Medium. Titled “Nobody’s Stranger,” the “Miami noir love story” somewhat wonderfully features a bar, “the most incongruous bar in Little Haiti,” in which the patrons are mostly “aging emo kids and British soccer fans and overweight burlesque enthusiasts.”