“In the supermarket of names, Gary is a box of day-old donuts on the grab bag table, sitting among the names favored by rising immigrants groups, fearless parents, and people who should be prosecuted for Naming Under the Influence. We are six behind Talon, which I don’t even think is a name. We are nine behind Issac, which I am certain is misspelled. We are forty-three behind Princeton, which won’t look good on your boy’s application to Dartmouth.” Gary Sernovitz writes about Google, “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang,” and the letter G at n+1.
Some of Jeff Tweedy‘s favorite writers: “I like Henry Miller a lot. I like William H. Gass a lot. Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Kurt Vonnegut. . . . I used to walk into bookstores when I was a kid and get the stuff that looked the craziest and the most free.” (In a Rolling Stone interview, unavailable online.)
“Directly you are in motion you will feel quite helpless, and experience a sensation of being run away with, and it will seem as if the machine were trying to throw you off.” The bicycle was little more than a confusing craze back in 1877. The London Library has just uncovered some fascinating and hilarious vintage educational pamphlets on everything from ‘The Gentlewoman’s Book of Sports’ to ‘Cycling As a Cause of Heart Disease.’
“It all adds up to a fascinating portrait-of-the-artist-on-the-make in the booming 1950s. And it makes you wish the stories were better.” Year-in-Reading alum Jess Walter reviews a new (911-page) collection of stories by Kurt Vonnegut. See also: “2 B R 0 2 B”, a “lost” Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
“My parents really don’t like that book. It embarrassed and saddened them and they didn’t understand why I would air my dirty laundry in public. They’ve had some time to sit with it and now they’re more supportive of what I do as a memoirist. I think they see the value of telling your story now. It’s still a tender subject and I wouldn’t say that they exactly love the book now, but at least it’s an open dialogue.” Jillian Lauren speaks on the cost of telling one’s truth publicly and her memoir Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. Pair with a piece by our own Michael Bourne on the art and business of memoirs.
John Green, Tina Fey, and “a book-swapping/speed-dating cocktail hour”: BookExpo America has taken over Manhattan’s Javitz Center, and if you live anywhere near New York we think you might want to check out the public BookCon event this Saturday. We’re not saying you’ll meet the love of your life, but maybe you’ll win the Hunger Games trivia contest.