Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)
Things you can learn about Teddy Wayne from his essay in the New York Times Book Review: one, his first name is Derek; two, he believes the modern lit world is crazy for guys named Jonathan; and three, he once considered using the pen name D.T. Wayne. (For more, you could go read our interview, or else check out our review of his latest novel.)
America’s oldest LGBT bookstore, Giovanni’s Room, is closing on May 17. The Philadelphia staple is shutting its doors after four decades due to the owner’s retirement and financial problems. At Salon, Steve Berman remembers the store and discusses how its closure will affect the publishing and LGBT community. “So LGBT books are forced to the edges, to the shadows, despite claims of assimilation. Gay authors have to do more and more marketing to find readers. Gay publishers have to struggle with shrinking venues to showcase their titles.”
Those of you out there who grew up in the 90s will remember that every disaster movie brought a slew of novelizations into bookstores. Even if the movie in question did badly, you knew that at least two adaptations of the script would pop up on shelves. At Hazlitt, Will Sloan wonders if the age of the novelization is over.
We tend to assume that life stories, in mentally healthy people, are concrete things, assembled from events that are hard to twist or distort. Yet all of us shape our own stories in ways we can’t always see. At The Atlantic, Julie Beck explores the idea that life stories, as we construct them, form integral parts of our personalities.
Mark McGurl author of the book that got everyone talking about MFA programs, The Program Era, mounts a spirited defense against Elif Batuman’s much discussed review of the book. Among his ripostes: “One can be all for the deflation of liberal pieties without being a gleeful ignoramus about it, as though literary journalism needs its own Ann Coulter.” Zing!