“At first blush, bringing an eight-year-old to one of William Shakespeare’s quirkier plays in an effort to help her see herself, an Asian American girl, in popular culture did seem a rather odd decision.” Nicole Chung for Hazlitt on The Winter’s Tale, representation, and parenting in the age of Trump. And wouldn’t you know it, we have a piece specifically about that very play – “three/fifths wintry tragedy, two/fifths vernal comedy, and wholly a masterwork” – right here.
Paris Review co-founder Peter Matthiessen will publish a new novel in the spring of next year. Matthiessen, who won the National Book Award in 2008 for his last novel, Shadow Country, said the new novel centers on “a weeklong meditation retreat at the site of a World War II concentration camp.”
The Oscar Blog: Ed has recruited Scott, YPTR, Elizabeth Crane, Jeff, Gwenda, Mark and several others to “live blog” the Oscars on Sunday. I’m convinced that no good can come of this… but you can bet I’ll be reading along.I’ll read what ever Malcolm Gladwell writes, but his 2-part conversation with ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons on sports (and many other topics) is particularly entertaining.I’m a huge fan of the Comics Curmudgeon blog, which hilariously skewers the newspaper funnies. Now Josh has hit the big time. He’ll be skewering political cartoons for Wonkette.The winners of the 2005 Book Critics Cirle Award will be announced tonight. Here are the finalists.Brokeback Mountain (video link) in Bun-O-Vision.
Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.
Congratulations to Millions contributor Lydia Kiesling whose thoughtful essay “Proust’s Arabesk: The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk” was named a finalist for the 3quarksdaily Arts & Literature Prize. And thanks to all the Millions readers who voted for our essays in the first round of the contest.
“I have a theory: the thing that makes you a unique writer hasn’t got so much to do with your influences as it does with how you became a writer in the first place. I think your preferences—your obsessions—come just as much from the first sorts of things you consumed and were passionate about. Whether that’s pop music, comics, “lowbrow” fiction, soap operas, or anything else, the thing that matters most is what started you writing stories.” Amber Sparks writes about “lowbrow” influences and the many paths to becoming a storyteller in an essay for Electric Literature.
“These stories feature hookups and breakups, substance abuse, and violence so casual it’s as natural as jagged breathing.” Electric Literature has an interview between flash fiction author Len Kuntz and critic and writer David Galef, whose Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook was just published by Columbia University Press. The two discuss the state of short fiction, their favorite one-line stories of the year, and how, even in the briefest of narratives, readers should still “feel a connection to the story and characters.” For more ultra-lean tales, see our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s review of Hint Fiction, an anthology of 25-words-and-under short stories.
Over at the Observer, Brent Underwood writes on how he self-published a fake book on Amazon. He sold a total of three copies, enough for him to earn the #1 Best Seller badge in several categories. Now his fake book has landed an actual book deal and is available in paperback.