Consider these two Tumblrs as late additions to my three-part (one, two, three) taxonomy of literary blogs. Writers at Work is three years in the making, so we’re a bit late to the party, but Erasing Infinite, which creates erasure poems out of each page of Infinite Jest, looks like it’s got a long way to go before it’s finished.
Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Quentin Tarantino in The Atlantic and writes about why Inglorious Basterds is a very un-Jewish treatment of rage toward Nazis.
When did Twitter turn into a place of public shame, outrage, and apology? Alexander Chee examines the changing culture in an essay for Dame Magazine. “Oh, Internet, place of the ultimate writerly paradox, where things you write quickly for little or no money last forever.” Our own Mark O’Connell explored something similar in his New Yorker essay on the public humiliation of regrettable tweets.
Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in an eight-hour dramatization of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. Completed in 1960, and centered around the bloody battle of Stalingrad, the novel was deemed so dangerous by the KGB that the book itself was arrested. BBC’s excited, and all the episodes are available to download.
Anwen Crawford reflects on newly published letters from Sylvia Plath; “The belief among many of Plath’s devotees seems to be that if we can get clear of other people’s fingerprints on her texts, allowing Plath to ‘fully narrate her own autobiography,’ as the editors here describe it, we will at last solve the riddle of her. The extremities of her poetry will balance against the circumstances of her life; the latter will equal the former. But her griefs were ordinary; it is what she did with them that wasn’t. Plath turned her common sorrows—dead father, mental illness, cheating husband—into something like an origin story for pain itself, as if her own pain preceded the world.” In the New Yorker
Why do articles go viral? At The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova traces what makes a popular story all the way back to Aristotle, but today’s clickbait has two features: a positive message or an ability to excite the reader emotionally. This probably explains why we love those articles about puppies. Pair with: Our piece on if book titles were written for clicks.
Read this interview with Mary H.K. Choi where she discusses her novel, Emergency Contact, and how it offers a more modern (2010s) portrayal of Asian American mother-daughter relationships. “Choi’s novel blows up Asian female stereotypes and prods readers to question their own cultural biases about women of color. For instance: Not all Asian moms are like Lane Kim’s in “Gilmore Girls.” Not all of them own antique shops or dry cleaners, care singularly about grades and won’t let their baby tiger cubs date until they’ve finished graduate school.”