“You might say we are awash in definitions of the essay and essays themselves, or to mis-paraphrase Wallace Stevens, ideas about the thing as well as the thing itself.” On The Making of the American Essay, the third and final volume of John D’Agata’s A New History of the Essay.
The Toast may be closing its doors soon, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still putting out hilarious pieces. This week, it’s Vape Aficionado’s Guide to Finding a Token Lady-Writer, featuring such gems as: “Margaret Atwood: Because she’s good at Twitter and you forgot how to spell ‘Le Guin,'” and “George Eliot: Whoops, you thought George was a dude, didn’t you? Purely accidental, but it still counts!”
Pamela Paul’s recent New York Times piece on the “permanent reunion” Facebook has trapped us in and an 18-year-old’s op-ed in the New York Post about why the shallow connections of Facebook led him to quit, have me feeling queasy about checking my timeline. So, I’m re-reading Edan Lepucki’s essay about taking a social media detox instead. (Cue the cognitive dissonance of clicking the “like” button next to this entry.)
The 2012 Costa Book Awards (PDF), which recognize books by writers in the UK and Ireland, were awarded yesterday in the Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book categories. Interestingly, each category was won by a female author. Three cheers for Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies, Francesa Segal’s The Innocents, Mary M. Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Kathleen Jamie’s Overhaul, Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon.
“I have often thought that if I were ever a drag queen, and more specifically that if I were ever a drag queen who was a contestant on RuPaul’s Drag Race, I would play Virginia Woolf — or rather, Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf — in the Snatch Game episode when the contestants don their very best celebrity impersonation.” Untucking RuPaul’s Drag Race at The Los Angeles Review of Books.
The fuss is currently over John D’Agata and Jim Fingal’s clashes over factual accuracy, but frankly I’m tired of hearing about it. Maybe it’s because it sounds so reminiscent of David Shields’ Reality Hunger (2010). Or, better yet, maybe it’s because it sounds so reminiscent of David Sedaris’ Naked (1997).