Recommended Reading: “The Pumpkin Tree” by Robert Wrigley.
You may have heard that Noah Berlatsky wrote a book about the early days of Wonder Woman. The book explores gender dynamics in Wonder Woman comics from the forties. At The Rumpus, Berlatsky talks with Arielle Bernstein about early comics, radical politics and the mind of William Marston.
The CS Monitor has a little piece about the travails of teenage novelists: “A youthful sensation doesn’t always translate into a distinguished literary career. For many teen authors, that first book proves a hard act to follow. Some never again meet with the kind of praise critics heaped upon their first offerings.”Speaking of (once) young phenoms, Bret Easton Ellis has a flashy new Web site that promotes his upcoming novel, Lunar Park. I’ve never read Ellis, but the Web site seems to indicate that this upcoming novel is about a character named Bret Easton Ellis, and it may or may not be autobiographical. Very meta. There’s an excerpt in there too.I’ve been enjoying EarthGoat lately. It’s a group blog out of Iowa City.
New this week: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood; Gold, Fame, Citrus, by Claire Vaye Watkins; Vertigo by Joanna Walsh; Syllabus of Errors by Troy Jollimore; The Good Story by Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee and Arabella Kurtz; I Must Be Living Twice by Eileen Myles; and The Complete Works of Primo Levi. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
“Can we ever pinpoint a person’s true identity? … How can we point to something in the world with complete accuracy, without also being meaninglessly redundant? Harpo’s answer to ‘who are you?’ is a visual-gag version of the Buddha’s infuriatingly honest answer to the same question. When asked who he was, he would say, gesturing to himself: I am thathagatha (the one who is like this).” On Groucho Marx, nihilism, and the destruction of comedy over at Slate.
“Young black fiction writers in the U.S. often face a strange obstacle as they try to figure out who they are — it’s called American literature. A high number of pre-civil-rights-era novels by white American writers are likely to include tossed-off racial slurs and/or stock black characters, some of which make racially conscious readers want to hurl the book across the room, even if the wooly-headed pickaninnies are only peeking around a doorjamb on one page out of 400. There are exceptions, but shockingly few. You always have to brace yourself — always.” James Hannaham writes about growing up in Yonkers but finding himself in Southern literature.