It’s not often that a writer has an essay collection and a debut novel come out in the space of a few months, but that’s exactly the situation of Year in Reading alum Roxane Gay, whose novel An Untamed State and collection Bad Feminist are both getting published this year. At Bookforum, Margaret Weppler reads An Untamed State, which displays, she writes, “a staggering sense of strength, confidence and integrity.”
The Faster Times offers up a new dialogue from dynamic duo Jon Cotner & Andy Fitch’s “Conversations over Stolen Food,” which seamlessly segues from Astroglide and Fung Wah buses to Alaskan Brown Bears, and includes a run-in with New York Park Patrol. Images by Paper Monument editor Dushko Petrovich are added eye candy.
Tasteless and horrifying–nay, even a sign of the apocalypse–or rather excellent advice for college-bound young ladies? You decide: Vice Magazine‘s “A Beginner’s Guide to Drugs For Girls.” (A taste: “Here are some pointers for the beginners out there so you can get high without becoming that girl slumped in the corner of the night bus with vomit all over your shoes and lockjaw so bad your teeth have all snapped in half.”)
I have an essay in the September issue of Poets & Writers on “The Social Value of MFA Programs.” Sadly, P&W deems the piece too valuable to give away for free on the Web, so if you want to read it, you’ll have to go to your local newsstand and buy a copy.
Much linked elsewhere, Triple Canopy has published the first complete English translation of the Roberto Bolano’s 1999 speech accepting the Romulo Gallegos Prize.Keith Gessen of n+1 and All the Sad Young Literary Men has started a blog. People who like to make grand pronouncements about such things and/or snark about them are all aflutter. (via)Onward in snark, Tao Lin describes the “Levels of Greatness” for the American novelist. Spoiler alert: Philip Roth wins again. (via)Robert McCrum chronicles his ten years as The Observer’s literary editor in ten chapters, from “Chapter 1: New Blood: Zadie Smith” to “Chapter 10: The Kindle.”
Hobart is celebrating the month of June by offering a 20% discount on all of their Short Flight / Long Drive Books. You can pick up any two for $15. In particular I recommend Adam Novy’s Avian Gospels, a vividly imagined story of a young boy who can control flocks of birds. (I’ve recommended it before.) You can also get a taste for the book by watching its trailer over here.
We knew she was trouble when Taylor Swift joined the cast of the Weinstein’s adaptation of The Giver. Billboard reports that Swift has signed on for an unspecified supporting role along with Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, and Alexander Skarsgard. The movie will start filming in Cape Town next week.
“In one of his last columns, published in March 1966, Flann O’Brien looked back on his catechism, compiled more than twenty years earlier, and described it as ‘an exegetic survey of the English language in its extremity of logo-daedalate poliomyelitis, anaemic prostration and the paralysis of incoherence.’ One month after writing that, he was dead, and yet within a year a remarkable renaissance was taking place, with the long-delayed publication of his great comic fantasy The Third Policeman and, soon afterwards, the first of many anthologies of the ‘Cruiskeen Lawn’ columns, this one entitled The Best of Myles.” (Related: our own Mark O’Connell on the humor in O’Brien’s work.)