Considering his experience as a musician and comedian, it makes sense that Jacob Rubin wrote his new novel about a performer. The Poser depicts the tumultuous career of a talented impressionist. At Bookforum, Rubin talks about the novel, his career as a screenwriter and his knack for impressions as a child. You could also read his interview with Reif Larsen here at The Millions.
Among Jorge Luis Borges’s observations about soccer were the following: “Soccer is popular because stupidity is popular;” soccer is “aesthetically ugly;” and “soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.” That is to say: his distaste is well documented. But why did he feel this way? Millions contributor Shaj Mathew takes a look.
Are you the type of reader who craves the food described in novels like our own Nick Moran? Then take The Guardian’s “Food in fiction” quiz. Sample question: “According to the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, what kind of food is eaten tomorrow, yesterday, but never today?”
I’d heard that the New Yorker excerpt was the opening of Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Freedom, but it turns out it is preceded in the novel by this: “The news about Walter Berglund wasn’t picked up locally–he and Patty had moved away to Washington two years earlier and meant nothing to St. Paul now–but the urban gentry of Ramsey Hill were not so loyal to their city as not to read the New York Times. According to a long and very unflattering story in the Times, Walter had made quite a mess of his professional life out there in Washington. His old neighbors had some difficulty reconciling the quotes about him in the Times (‘arrogant,’ ‘high-handed,’ ‘ethically compromised’) with the generous, smiling, red-faced 3M employee they remembered pedaling his commuter bicycle up Summit Avenue in February snow; it seemed strange that Walter, who was greener than Greenpeace and whose own roots were rural, should be in trouble now for conniving with the coal industry and mistreating country people. Then again, there had always been something not quite right about the Berglunds.”
In a New York Times op-ed piece on violence in children’s literature, Maria Tatar claims that “the savagery we offer children today is more unforgiving than it once was.” Is that really the case? Adam Gidwitz‘s A Tale Dark And Grimm (reviewed by the Times last November), which underscores the violence inherent in Grimm’s tales, can be read as a counterpoint.
This week we posted two new #LitBeat features on our Tumblr. In one piece, Greg Cwik roamed Brooklyn as part of The Morley Walk, a tour organized by Melville House’s Dustin Kurtz in order to bring attention to Christopher Morley’s The Haunted Bookshop. In another, Michael Spinelli reports on a conversation between Saïd Sayrafiezadeh and Sam Lipsyte.
With the erosion of the 175-year-old Times-Picayune, New Orleans will soon be one of the largest metro areas without its own major newspaper publishing every day. Over at The Atlantic, Emily Badger explains the sad saga of its demise as well as the complexities and uncertainties yet to come.