“I cannot help feeling, on being invited to contextualize my own fiction, that the least qualified person possible has been asked. It is more still: hesitance, dread, that as a blind man in a failing aircraft I have been offered the yoke. I imagine it is the same for other writers, for the very fact that you write a story, and not a critical essay, suggests that near everything you hope to say lies outside the bounds of explicit statement.” Despite all that, here’s an essay by Greg Jackson at Granta in which he attempts to contextualize his own fiction.
Esquire offers up a terrific time sink, "The 7 Greatest Stories in the History of Esquire Magazine." Included among these gems of long-form journalism, which are all reprinted in full, is Richard Ben Cramer's "What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?" which appeared on the list of best sports journalism we ran last month.Not long ago, we discussed the books that first stoked our love for reading. The Guardian takes it one step further, asking "What were your favourite books before you could read?"A brief YouTube profile of Annette Gordon-Reed, National Book Award winner for The Hemingses of Monticello.From The Morning News, a slightly insane, moderately epic profile of Dmitri Nabokov, son of Vladimir.Also from The Morning News, a bit about The Chicagoan, the long-lost New Yorker-esque magazine for the Second City, now memorialized in coffee-table book form. If ever any cities (besides New York of course) could be granted New Yorker-like magazines, Chicago and Los Angeles would be deserving. BoingBoing points to some pdf excerpts of the book.Poll watching savant Nate Silver takes execrable rabble-rouser John Ziegler to task for a dubious survey of Obama supporters. Petulance ensues.
● ● ●
We've already decided that it's okay for fictional characters to be unlikable, but what about nonfiction writers? At the VQR blog, Jennifer Niesslein interviews essayists on whether their success is based on how amiable they are. "I think it’s ridiculous to expect to like someone who wrote a book you love, but the increasing visibility of writers on social media—who are expected to be the ambassadors of their books—amps up the pressure to be well-liked," Cheryl Strayed said.
"João Gilberto Noll frustrates attempts to foresee the plot or to craft stories as they are traditionally understood and written. The series of events that appear in them are as tenuously linked into a broader narrative as those of a dream." An interview with Noll translator Adam Morris.
South Floridian bandits, fishermen, drunks, madmen, and college students are mourning the imminent demise of beloved Miami institution, Jimbo's. The site of the "Who Lets The Dogs Out" video, the Flipper movie starring Elijah Wood, and a couple iterations of the now-defunct Swampstomp music festival, Jimbo's defied summation. Put simply, you had to see it yourself. The way I always explained it to my friends up North was by telling them it was like The Rum Diary met CBGB's and Will Smith's "Miami" video. Still, even that's insufficient, so I recommend reading the Miami New Times' epic chronicle of the place's history.