“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.”
This week, UC Davis students protesting a tuition increase (among other things) were mercilessly pepper sprayed by their own campus police. In response, Nathan Brown, a non-tenured associate professor of English, has spoken out and called for UC Davis chancellor Linda Katehi's resignation. In solidarity with Brown's demand, students silently gathered around Katehi's office as she exited. For those hoping for further illumination on the entire fiasco, I recommend this list of "Ten Things You Should Know About Friday's UC Davis Police Violence." Elsewhere within the UC system, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass details his harrowing experience at the UC Berkeley protests.
If Fantasy Football is football for people who don't like dirt or concussions, here's a Fantasy Football for people who don't like football. Book Riot has the details, which involve tracking your favorite authors' career highlights much like an athlete's: "publishes a book," sure, but also "appears in another author’s book trailer," "fatwa issued against author," and "dies." Our own Edan Lepucki makes the Rookies bracket, but, please--no fatwas just to win.
There's been a lot of talk about women breaking into traditionally male fields and hobbies, but in a blog post at The Missouri Review Caitlin Rosberg laments the continued underrepresentation of female characters and creatives in comic books. She then explores the work she's doing to improve the situation by publishing women writers and artists in works like the Ladies' Night Anthology. As she says, "I’m motivated in no small part by being able to say to those 'make your own' strawmen, 'I do. I’m an editor contributing to published comic books. Are you?'"
Our own Garth Risk Hallberg’s City on Fire is almost here. While we wait, read Boris Kachka’s profile of Hallberg for Vulture, about the expectation surrounding his highly anticipated 944-page debut novel and the experience of writing a book that is “unpublishably long.” We'll be publishing our own illuminating interview with Hallberg on Monday.
“Grief doesn’t only disturb life; it disturbs the way we talk about life. As myriad aspects of our existence are questioned and reexamined in the wake of a death, so too is our relationship with the language we rely on for our grief’s expression.” This track-by-track take on Sufjan Stevens’s Carrie & Lowell from The Rumpus is really just a magnificent, emotive piece on elegy.
If you haven't had a chance to finish perusing the New York Times Style Magazine's 'The Greats' issue make sure you at least find the time to read Dave Eggers profile of Year in Reading alum Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She is on one of their seven covers and if you've ever wanted to know about her family and what kind of reading she wants to do more of, this is the interview for you. "'That boy,” she said, and sighed. She was still thinking about Edwyn. 'There was something so clean and pure and true about his writing, don’t you think? Increasingly I find that that’s the kind of thing I want to read.'"
It’s an age-old question for writers and thinkers: how do you quiet the noise of your thoughts? In Aeon Magazine, Tim Parks wonders if it’s even possible to silence internal monologues -- and, if it is, whether that silence means losing sight of our identities. (Related: our own Mark O'Connell reviewed Parks's latest book.)