We tend to assume that life stories, in mentally healthy people, are concrete things, assembled from events that are hard to twist or distort. Yet all of us shape our own stories in ways we can’t always see. At The Atlantic, Julie Beck explores the idea that life stories, as we construct them, form integral parts of our personalities.
Authors, are you struggling to get your book’s characters together? Are they lacking a little spark, a little intimacy? Well, have no fear. The folks at Open Road Media put together a video with Erica Jong, Lawrence Block, Patricia Gaffney, and a few more authors on The Art of Writing Sex Scenes. This should do the trick.
New this week stateside is buzzed-about Booker shortlister Room by Emma Donoghue. Also out: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, a new collection by "20 Under 40" lister Yiyun Li; Sigrid Nunez's post-apocalyptic Salvation City; and a McSweeney's-published memoir Half a Life by Chang and Eng author Darin Strauss.
Everyone's favorite scrappy San Fransisco literary web site, The Rumpus, has relaunched with a major redesign. Go over and poke around why don't you? If you're looking for a place to start, why not Roxane Gay's recent essay on the New York Times Book Review section's dismal numbers when it comes to reviewing books written by people of color?
Director Ross Ching was so inspired by photographer Matt Logue’s “Empty LA” project, he decided to expand the idea. What’s resulted is the ongoing Empty America series, whose first two installments depict Seattle and San Francisco without any humans present. Coming up: Washington D.C. and New York City.