“‘There’s no success like failure,’ Bob Dylan once sang – but he couldn’t have envisaged the international notoriety that bad art would achieve in the digital age. Mark O’Connell’s Epic Fail gleefully hops genres and centuries in a quest to understand our obsession with lameness. Clever, profound, bitingly funny, it’s a brilliant analysis from one of the smartest new critics around.” — Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies
Year in Reading alum Angela Flournoy writes about Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man for the National Book Foundation. “I return to Invisible Man often because it accomplishes so many things at once, but never at the sake of intelligent, moving storytelling.” Pair with our interview with Flournoy.
n+1's Research Collective has posted the introduction to Ellen Willis's No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays (1992), and plans to post a series of essays by the seamless activist and writer-- "Her refusal to subsume her personality to a movement, or to ignore the things that were important to her, remains an inspiration."
I've been noticing some of the fantastic pages that libraries and museums have put up for their book exhibits. Here's Czech book covers of the 1920s and 1930s and Civil War maps from the Library of Congress, for example.Fans of audiobooks will enjoy this essay by the pseudonymous Thomas H. Benton at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Link via OPTR.Thinking about getting rid of some books? This Ask Metafilter thread has lots of suggestions on where to donate your books.For a year, I was a bookstore employee who blogged, so the story of this book clerk in the UK who got fired for blogging hit pretty close to home.
"Perhaps this is why King favors prose—many of his novels and stories confront terror so enormous it transcends poetic language." In Poetry Foundation, an essay about Stephen King's little known literary habit: writing poetry. Pair with: our editor Lydia Kiesling on discovering America through King's novels.
"When I want to be ambushed, captured, thrust into a strange and vivid world, and tossed aloft until I cannot stand it, until everything is at stake and life feels almost unbearably vivid, I do something simple. I read short stories." Electric Literature has posted Ben Marcus's "paean to the contemporary American short story," which doubles as the introduction to New American Stories and does a pretty good job of capturing just what it is we love about reading fiction.