“Reading the Grateful Dead is not a history of the band; it is a study of the landscape they and their fans created, as surveyed from a caravan that crisscrossed the country, Europe, and even Egypt for roughly 2,300 shows over 30 years.” Dead Head Buzz Poole takes a look at “Grateful Dead studies.” (The song that turned him, it turns out, was ‘Scarlet Begonias.’)
“There used to be a time when people read literature to confront stuff. To experience things vicariously—whether it’s a forbidden scene or a forbidden idea. I think now we’re looking to literature for an escape from that. I’m not sure why that is.” Guernica interviews Marlon James, whose most recent novel A Brief History of Seven Killings was reviewed on the Book Report.
And the Heart Says Whatever author Emily Gould has been combining two of our favorite things, books and food in an online cooking show called “Cooking the Books.” Past episodes have included Sam Lipsyte (cooking pork buns) and Joanna Smith Rakoff (cooking brunch).
“We envision a library full of blood,” reads the “About” section of the Black Cake Records website. “We want the very best blood, & we want it everywhere.” Intrigued? You should be. The project, begun in 2013, serves as “a forum for producing & disseminating audio archives of contemporary poets reading their work.” For an introduction, you can start with “Trench Mouth” by Danniel Schoonebeek, whose debut collection, American Barricade, was published last month by YesYes Books.
Kirk Curnutt takes readers on a tour of of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s oft-neglected commercial short fiction. Fitzgerald, after all, “produced 160 short stories [in his life],” writes Curnutt, “earning a total of $241,453 off the genre — more than $3 million in today’s dollars.” Yet the author didn’t think highly of the work, and even referred to himself as an “old whore” because he wouldn’t quit.
Humans have been covering paintings, windows, and mirrors after the passing of loved ones for generations. Why do we feel the need to close off our connection to the outside world when we are grieving? Colin Dickey writes about the social, literary, and religious connotations of grief and memory at Hazlitt. At The Millions, Lidia Yuknavitch writes about channeling her grief into art.