“The most, the best, we can do, we believe (wanting to give evidence of love), is to get out of the way, leave space around whomever or whatever it is.” This excerpt from John Cage’s journals, forthcoming as Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse), is as baffling as it is beautiful.
2011 is the year of television's oral history. On the heels of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, published last May and reviewed by n+1 here, you can now check out I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution. You can whet your appetite with an excerpt here. If television's not your thing, you can also check out New York Magazine's oral history of the Upright Citizens Brigade, and of the founding of Ms. magazine.
One of the surprises of last week’s James Beard Awards was the runaway success of McSweeney’s offshoot Lucky Peach, which ended up taking home five out of seventeen awards. On John Birdsall’s Tumblr, you can read one of the winning essays, which bears the attention-grabbing title of “America, Your Food Is So Gay.” (Related: Jessica Ferri on food writing.)
"[Virginie] Despentes has become a kind of cult hero, a patron saint to invisible women: the monstrous and marginalized, the sodden, weary and wildly unemployable, the kind of woman who can scarcely be propped up let alone persuaded to lean in." On Virginie Despentes's Bye Bye Blondie and French feminist pulp that pulls no punches.
Good news for all the Neil Gaiman fans out there–a new, four-part television series called Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories is set to begin filming in November. The series will focus on a selection of Gaiman’s short stories and feature a singular ensemble cast throughout. This should whet everyone’s appetite for the long-awaited television adaptation of American Gods, which is set to begin production sometime in 2016.
Back in May, our own Sonya Chung reviewed All That Is, the first novel in 35 years by A Sport and a Pastime author James Salter. For another viewpoint (courtesy of the LRB), check out James Meek's assessment of the book alongside Salter's Collected Stories.