Don’t Cry author Mary Gaitskill reviews Gillian Flynn’s wildly successful thriller, Gone Girl, for the pages of Bookforum. What she finds is that the book isn’t really frightening because of its plot per se, but rather because its two main characters “do not resemble actual people so much as grotesquely smiling masks driven by forces of extreme artifice, and it’s exactly that extreme artificial quality that’s frightening to the point of sickening.” For what it’s worth, Edan Lepucki, Michael Bourne, Ed Park, Janet Potter, and Jennifer duBois each named Flynn’s book in their most recent Year in Reading pieces.
“[L]isting The Bible proves detrimental for both sexes while listing Fifty Shades of Grey results in women getting 16% fewer messages and Harry Potter losing men up to 55%.” In recent duh news, a study by dating site eHarmony found that book readers are found to be “more intellectually curious than most and find it easier to form open and trusting relationships with others” – but not all books are equal, reports The Independent.
In true Seinfeldian fashion, Arthur Martine, the Victorian writer behind Martine’s Handbook of Etiquette, drew up a detailed taxonomy of the various species of bore. These include the Loud Talker, who “silences a whole party by his sole power of lungs;” the Malaprop, who masters the art of inappropriate conversation; and the Life-Sharer, who may be familiar to the Facebook addicts of today.
“And now An American Marriage, with its ruminations on masculinity, married life, and what constitutes marital debt, manages the trick of arriving at the right time while also feeling utterly untethered to just one era.” BuzzFeed News profiled writer Tayari Jones about her life, oeuvre, and fourth novel, An American Marriage. Pair with: Jones’s 2017 Year in Reading entry.
Etgar Keret is busy these days. Aside from publishing a story about the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and aside from promoting stories for Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading blog, he also has time to commission novelty houses in Warsaw. At 133 cm (or ~4.3 feet) wide, the Keret House is, in my opinion, the stuff of nightmares. (Scroll along the page banner for more pictures.)
On International Women’s Day the New York Times launched Overlooked, a project that features the obituaries of remarkable women who did not receive the NYT obituary treatment when they passed away. It turns out only 20% of NYT obituaries were about women. Overlooked will seek to remedy this oversight by posting new obituaries of female icons weekly for the rest of 2018. Of particular note to our readers this week; Charlotte Bronte, Qiu Jin, Nella Larsen, Sylvia Plath and Ida B. Wells. But all 15 obituaries are worth reading, whether to learn something new or refresh your memory.