Does modern China need its own literary sub-genre? On trying to understand China’s “ultra-unreal” reality: “If Magic Realism was the way in which Latin American authors presented their view of their reality, then Ultra-Unreal Realism should be our name for the literature through which the Chinese regard their reality. The Chinese word ‘chaohuan’ (ultra-unreal) is something of a play on the word ‘mohuan’ (magic), as in ‘mohuan xianshizhuyi’ (magic realism)— ‘mohuan’ is ‘magical unreal,’ and ‘chaohuan’ is ‘surpassing the unreal.’”
First our own Mark O’Connell pondered the relationship between listicles and our shrinking attention spans for The New Yorker, and now Arika Okrent suggests that a listicle is its own literary form – albeit a “gloriously unspecified” form, at that. Together, these pieces constitute 2 Meditations On Listicles That Will Totally Change Your Life.
“Why should Serena not respond to racism? In whose world should it be answered with good manners? The notable difference between black excellence and white excellence is white excellence is achieved without having to battle racism. Imagine.” Claudia Rankine writes for The New York Times Magazine about tennis player Serena Williams, racism in sports, and white privilege. Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s list of books that “shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.”
“Book reviews are another matter, because a bad review has the potential to be far more adversarial: one writer spending years on a book, one reviewer spending days reading it, and a lasting relationship being created between the two in print. Or, perhaps, a history between the two that lends the review a particular piquancy.” An exegesis of the good bad review.
The book David Foster Wallace co-authored with Mark Costello about the pair’s “uncomfortable, somewhat furtive, and distinctively white enthusiasm for a certain music called rap/hip-hop” will be re-released in the US next Tuesday. UK readers look like they’re going to get a reissue of the book on their shelves as well.
Year in Reading Alum Alexander Chee reviews Rick Moody’s latest release, Hotels of North America. “The present is too cruel for him, and yet he cannot change it, so there is this instead, sentence by sentence, a nod to the past that is really a nod to his own past. A conflation of his nostalgia for the days of his sexual attractiveness and the unencumbered power of white men, all of it dressed up as a love for old words.” To hear more from Moody, check out our recent interview with him.