Lena Dunham’s next book looks to be every bit as divisive as her first. The chapbook, Is It Evil Not To Be Sure?, is a collection of Dunham’s college diaries from 2005 to 2006 — or basically, that recurring nightmare you have that somebody might find and read your journal.
Did mysterious bureaucrats authorize the destruction of historical documents in North Carolina in order to cover up “a paper trail associated with one or more now-prominent, politically connected NC families that found its wealth and success through theft, intimidation, and outrageous corruption?” That’s Constance Hall Jones’s suspicion. Bonus: Part two, which includes a timeline. (h/t Lydia Kiesling)
Andrew Ervin interviewed Matt Bell for Tin House. Bell’s forthcoming novel In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and Woods will come out this summer. (Excerpt) It’s a book that was at least partially enhanced by Bell’s sense of “competition … of a useful kind” with his friend Robert Kloss. “I was so blown away [by Alligators of Abraham],” Bell admits, “that I can remember having to resist putting down his first novel to go make mine better.”
In his latest Year in Reading, Chigozie Obioma told us about Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty Is a Wound, “the howling masterpiece of 2015…a howl, an outrage, and a sheer burst of particular talent.” In an illuminating interview for Electric Literature, Kurniawan discusses the label “magic realism,” epic creation, and his ideas for his next novel.
What does it mean to be cool? According to scholar Joel Dinerstein, it means a person who conveys “relaxed intensity.” Using this definition, Dinerstein and Frank Goodyear III curated a photography exhibition of “American Cool” at National Portrait Gallery. The portraits feature everyone from Joan Didion to David Byrne.
“Much of what passes for advanced literary scholarship these days is dreadful twaddle — incoherent, emotionally empty, deeply illiterate,” says Terry Castle in a recent interview with Salon about her new book of essays, The Professor. You can also catch Castle in the most recent issue of The New York Times Magazine.