“He is for the most part interested in documenting the sources of our unusual suffering, those initial shocks that brought about the trauma in the first place. Nothing ‘languishes listlessly’ in his music; all those slowly orbiting fragments are drawn back together in furious rotation, sucked inexorably in, towards a volatile core. The mood never stabilizes; madness reigns supreme.” This piece by Tom Regel at The Rumpus on realism in the work of DJ/Producer Flying Lotus is both thorough and convincing.
Looks like you might want to add Noah Hawley’s new suspense novel Before the Fall to your reading list — this review by the New York Times is effusive in its praise. Check out the other side of what a Times review can do and pair it with this review of Laura Tillman’s The Long Shadow of Small Ghosts, which includes such lines as: “Is a book without judgment, a personal view and confidence in its validity still a book?”
The cuddle trumps sodomy! At The New York Times, the controversial post-feminist Katie Roiphe explores the difference between the descriptions of sex in the last generation of American male novelists (Philip Roth, John Updike, Norman Mailer) and the current generation (David Foster Wallace, Benjamin Kunkel, Dave Eggers, Jonathan Safran Foer).
The CIA was known for unorthodox espionage techniques during the Cold War, but using Doctor Zhivago to undermine the U.S.S.R. is one of the strangest. The CIA helped print and distribute the banned book because it would make Soviets wonder “what is wrong with their government, when a fine literary work by the man acknowledged to be the greatest living Russian writer is not even available in his own country in his own language for his own people to read.”
The New Yorker lovefest continues: Emdashes is compiling a list of the New Yorker articles that have appeared in Houghton Mifflin’s annual Best American Essays series. It’s a perfect guide for dipping into your Complete New Yorker set. Update: Emdashes has also done a “short stories” version of the list.My cousin Mitch produces a survey of state quarters. Arkansas: thumbs down. Connecticut: thumbs up!The Regret the Error blog (which tracks all sorts of funny newspaper corrections) has produced a book with a serious sounding subtitle.I would love to get my hands on Transit Maps of the World, an encyclopedic book that’s already been noted by Boing Boing and kottke.
“Everywhere you turn, are you surrounded by fools, by boring nonentities, by faceless masses and foes and suckers and, indeed, jerks?” If so–as this insightful if somewhat confidence-shattering piece at Aeon suggests–the jerk may be you.
The Portable Story Series is accepting submissions to their inaugural contest, judged by Year in Reading alumna Kate Christensen. The theme is hunger, the genre is fiction, the word count is 2000-4000 words, and the deadline is March 28, 2016. The contest benefits three charitable organizations.