If you’re not already a fan of Will Self, his new book, Shark, may not be the best place to start. As Walker Rutter-Bowman points out, the book dispatches with many of the conventions of modern writing, including line breaks, paragraphs and dialogue tags. But it’s still an effort worthy of its author, he writes: “Here is a hunk of modernism that poignantly, beautifully, and, it seems, genuinely renders mental states of sanity and insanity while smudging the gradations in between.”
Coming this fall: a newly published autobiography that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote before she decided to retool her life story into the Little House on the Prairie books. Originally intended for an adult audience, Pioneer Girl gives a decidedly unsanitized account of Ingalls Wilder’s life, including love triangles, deadbeat fathers and episodes of drunken abuse. In The Telegraph, Rosa Prince compiles a preview of the new book.
Francine Prose has an idiosyncratic theory that the Hindu god Ganesh is a vital part of her writing process. In a VQR essay, she explains that her portrait of the deity (which she purchased forty years ago at a bazaar in Mumbai) gives her a kind of confidence that goes beyond superstition. As support for this belief, she points out that Ganesh is known in some quarters as “the writer’s god.”
Slang, as readers of Shakespeare know, affects the development of language as much as any genus of terminology. At Salon, Jonathon Green writes about the strange history of English slang, as part of an excerpt from his new book, The Vulgar Tongue. You could also read our own Michael Bourne on the use of “like” in modern English.
Recommended Reading: Owen Hatherley at the London Review of Books discusses postcapitalism and a world run by clicks: “The sin of ‘original research?’ – a solecism nearly as grave as ‘citation needed’ – is another reminder that the non-postcapitalist labour of academics is the basis of nearly the entire operation. Wikipedia is less a new form of knowledge than a novel packaging of an old one.”
Eliza Griswold’s deeply affecting profile of the female poets in Afghanistan ran last April in the New York Times Magazine, and it’s certainly worth a read if you missed it back then. For those who read it and wanted more, though, definitely check out the Pulitzer Center’s multimedia package on all of Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy’s work, Afghanistan: On Love and Suicide.
Our own founding editor C. Max Magee is teaming up with our friends at The Bygone Bureau and The Morning News to give a panel discussion at SXSW Interactive 2013 on the future of independent longform writing on the web. If you wanna see the panel make it to Austin, head over the SXSW site to give us your vote. You can register to vote here.
As you may have heard, Twitter went public last week, which means a lot of people are trying to figure out just what its IPO means for social media. Over at n+1, Benjamin Kunkel proposes that social media, by its very nature, cannot be profitable, and thus should be administered by the state as a public good.