“There was an inefficient system in place, and what I did was subvert it by an external rotation of reluctant holly jollies. Nasally, I came to understand that light is a thing that is produced through the collision of particulates, and boy isn’t that the truth.” As part of their year-end review, McSweeney’s republished their ten most popular pieces of 2014, including the above. Its title? “Donald Barthelme Narrates the Progress of the Reindeer.”
One Goodreads vigilante has created a master list of authors notorious for responding immaturely or meanly to negative reviews of their work. Elsewhere, iDreamBooks, a new Rotten Tomatoes-type service, was launched. The site aggregates critics’ book reviews and shows you what to read next.
Jacket Copy visits Joan Didion at her apartment in Manhattan to discuss Blue Nights, which moves back and forth between the death of Didion's 39-year-old daughter, Quintana, six years ago and the author's reflections on aging. The book is a much anticipated follow-up to 2005's The Year of Magical Thinking, in which Didion wrote about the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne.
"Notes: Finally, a Pokémon that gets it: the living epitome of the unbearable ennui that characterizes life in the modern age. Despite having the mass of a cement truck, the Snorlax has the calm bearing of a yogi. Its rhythmic snoring chimes the steadfast paternoster of enlightened meditation. This is one Pokémon that truly doesn’t give a shit. One cannot help but feel humbled to be in the face of divinity." The only thing that could make Pokémon Go any better would be playing it with Anthony Bourdain. At McSweeney's, Allen Zhang imagines the opportunity.
Writing for Banned Books Month on the PEN American Center’s blog, our own Lydia Kiesling discusses Judy Blume’s Forever. It’s a book many have “lobbied vigorously to pry … out of the hands of enthralled youth since 1975,” Kiesling writes, which should prove that such lobbyists “weren’t very good readers” in the first place.