Blackout, the recent memoir by Sarah Hepola, chronicles the author’s long struggle with reckless drinking. The title references the total loss of memory she experienced after some of her worst benders. At The Morning News, Rosecrans Baldwin talks with Hepola about her book, amnesia and the nature of memory.
Book Riot offers a step-by-step guide to making your own book covers out of paper bags. Not saying this was a thing we did as kids, particularly when jacket design didn’t meet expectations – a certain Dover edition of the Francis Hodgson Burnett classic A Little Princess comes to mind – but not not saying that either.
In a piece for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Sarah Mesle reviews Mallory Ortberg‘s Texts from Jane Eyre, which “is not only a major work of bathroom humor reading, but also a significant contribution to feminist literary criticism. It is difficult to imagine another book that would both be a perfect stocking stuffer and an exemplary text for a seminar in literary studies.”
“Who was Bret Easton Ellis describing when he tweeted: ‘The best example of a contemporary male writer lusting for a kind of awful greatness that he simply wasn’t able to achieve’?” The Guardian has a delicious quiz of literary putdowns. And speaking of fighting, let’s talk about books about violence.
As if the ebook juggernaut didn’t already have enough steam behind it, The Washington Post says that, “perusing electronically will lighten your environmental impact.” You see, “every time you download and read an electronic book, rather than purchasing a new pile of paper, you’re paying back a little bit of the carbon dioxide and water deficit from the Kindle production process.”
“She gathered books to display for attendees and discovered that inside the cover of one, ‘The Koran for Dummies,’ someone had written “lies cover to cover,” drawn a swastika and made a disparaging remark about the Prophet Muhammad.” The president of the American Library Association reports “startling increases” in 2016 of vandalism, including hateful messages, at libraries. The Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has begun formally tracking such incidents to determine whether the increase is “a blip or a trend.”
A while back, I wrote about Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher, which may be the first novel in history written entirely in the form of recommendation letters. Now, at The Rumpus, Anjali Enteti sits down with Schumacher, who talks about writing by hand, the adjunct crisis, and why it’s okay that so many people are getting MFAs. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on why MFA grads should teach high school.
Is “the two-person collaboration… the essential creative act”? Joshua Wolf Shenk thinks so, and he’s written a book defending his position, aptly titled The Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney are his primary examples and the root of his argument, famous author duos are also referenced – C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, for one. Shenk even “works to transform even famously lonely figures — Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King Jr. — into one side of a duet.” Consider us skeptical but intrigued.