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.
For those of you who ask, like Jacob Lambert, whether picture books are leading our children astray, the Independent posts ten of the bloodiest bedtime stories.
Pietru Caxaro composed “Il Cantilena” in the late 15th century, and his poem is widely considered to be the oldest known literary text in the Maltese language. Recently conservator Theresa Zammit Lupi worked to restore the original manuscript’s paper, binding and cover in order to “bring new life” to the historic work. You can read an approximate English translation of the poem courtesy of Wikipedia.
As you may have heard from our own Bill Morris, The Canyons, the new movie starring James Deen and Lindsey Lohan, is a bad film that somehow manages to be worth watching anyway. At the LARB, Naomi Fry agrees with this assessment, arguing that the film is important because it “identifies how desperately many of us still want to believe that the larger-than-life, commodified good life is still available to us.”
Calling all Tumblr-ers! Chronicle Books, the company responsible for such web-to-paper successes as F*ck I’m In My Twenties! and Dads Are the Original Hipsters, is looking for “the next big humor book idea.” Details for submissions can be found on their introductory Tumblr post. The deadline is February 28th.