Jonathan Lethem thinks his work is taken too seriously. “Well, I was just watching Richard Pryor, and he says, ‘When you’re dating a white woman, and people don’t like it, you can’t really pretend. You can’t go, “Oh, she’s not with me.”‘ ‘You write the big, ambitious books, right?’ Well, I guess they are,” he said in an interview with Salon. He also discusses being equated with Jonathan Franzen and his new novel, Dissident Gardens.
Last week I asked “What about J.T. Leroy?” I was wondering when the Leroy hoaxers were going to come forward. Now, one of them has. Warren St. John of the New York Times got Geoffrey Knoop to come clean on the record. Knoop also said that he didn’t think Laura Albert, who wrote the Leroy books, would ever come forward: “‘For her, it’s very personal,’ he said. ‘It’s not a hoax. It’s a part of her.'”Meanwhile, PopMatters put together a special section about Leroy and James Frey. I enjoyed The Rake’s related comments on why Frey can’t hold a candle to Charles Bukowski.I saw Brokeback Mountain a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. In an excerpt from Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay, Annie Proulx describes what it was like seeing her story on the screen: “I felt that, just as the ancient Egyptians had removed a corpse’s brain through the nostril with a slender hook before mummification, the cast and crew of this film, from the director down, had gotten into my mind and pulled out images.” (via Maud)This Boston Globe column articulates quite precisely how I feel about the strife surrounding the cartoons of Mohammed published in a Danish newspaper.
Matt Seidel has a helpful guide for book clubs across the country: How To Tell If Someone In Your Book Club Is a Homicidal Maniac. One possible clue? He contributes to the Water for Elephants discussion by “telling anecdotes about torturing animals as a child.”
Recommended Reading: Return to Oakpine author Ron Carlson’s short story, “How Things Have Actually Changed Since We Did Secede from the United States.”
The Millions Editor Max is interviewed at the National Book Critics Circle today. Among the topics discussed, “the motivation for launching The Millions seven years ago” and what we look for in book reviews.
The t-shirt team at kafkacotton has generously offered to extend a special deal to readers of The Millions (knowing, I assume, that you bookish folks will dig t-shirts that cleverly proclaim their love for classic books). Use the discount code “THEMILLIONS” to get 10% off. Remember to put the discount code in the “Message to Seller” box. Then, I’m told, you can either immediately pay the full price and they’ll issue you a refund for the discount amount or you can wait for kafkacotton to send you a revised, discounted invoice. Thanks for setting up this deal kafkacotton!
“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.
Last weekend marked the debut of Giphy, a new search engine for animated GIFs. Of course, I’m not willing to give a verdict on its utility just yet – the database doesn’t seem to list my three favorite GIFs of all time: therapist lion, slow motion corgis, and Kermit meets Christian.