“Sometimes I think I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out.” The Guardian interviews James Wood, author and book critic at The New Yorker, about his craft, his forthcoming novel Upstate, and the landscape of today’s literary criticism. Pair with: an essay about the greatness (and great influence) of Wood on a fellow novelist.
Norman Rockwell was an unhappy and enervated man who became iconic by painting scenes of happy, energetic people. He developed a style that became synonymous with idyllic visions of America. At Page-Turner, Lee Siegel reads Deborah Solmon's American Mirror, a new biography of Rockwell that acknowledges the painter’s contradictions without “mocking or scolding” him for the gulf between his life and his art.
The Columbia Spectator is about to embark on "a list of 50 books that we think capture the essence of each state."Daniel Menaker, former head of Random House, is set to host a new internet literary talk show called "Titlepage." It will be modeled after "'Apostrophes,' a popular French literary program; 'The Charlie Rose Show' on public television; and 'Dinner for Five,' in which a group of actors discussed their craft, on the Independent Film Channel." Guests on the first show include Richard Price and literary it-boy Charles Bock.Quite a resource: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Among the many entries: Death, God and Other Necessary Beings, Nothingness.We Feel Fine: Art from the hive mind.Landscape Urbanism Bullshit GeneratorFree Rice: procrastination fun for those with big vocabularies.The Corporation of London Libraries and Guildhall Art Gallery image database - huge, searchable collection of historical images of London, from which one can order prints.The Port Huron Statement, a part of the UVA Sixties ProjectTen Recurring Economic Fallacies - Put to rest "The Broken Window," "The Beneficence of War," and more.
As you might expect, the literature of England is characterized by a fair amount of rain, but what’s interesting is that the Victorian era had the rainiest literature of all. In The Guardian, a look into the history of downpours and drizzles in English narratives. (via Arts and Letters Daily)
What if the next crisis to hit the headlines brings an end to the world as we know it? It’s a mind-bending thing to contemplate, but it’s what our own Emily St. John Mandel tackles in Station Eleven, which made it up to the final five of last year’s National Book Awards. On a new episode of The Takeaway, Emily talks about the novel, exploring what’s left when civilization withers away. You could also read our interview with Emily about the book.
"Stop smoking, first of all, and then don’t hold your breath, don’t cough, do not for any reason pick up heavy packages, boxes, suitcases. Never lean over, or dive headfirst into water. The carnal throes of passion were forbidden, because even an ardent kiss could cause my veins to burst." At long last, Lina Meruane’s semi-autobiographical novel Seeing Red has been published in English. Meruane has long been hailed as one of the most brilliant South American writers that American readers had probably never heard of.
The fuss is currently over John D'Agata and Jim Fingal's clashes over factual accuracy, but frankly I'm tired of hearing about it. Maybe it's because it sounds so reminiscent of David Shields' Reality Hunger (2010). Or, better yet, maybe it's because it sounds so reminiscent of David Sedaris' Naked (1997).
This weekend we posted our 1000th Tumbl. Since we jumped into the Tumblverse last autumn, we've been pretty vocal about how happy we are to be there, posting other curiosities, #LitBeat reports, the occasional cute puppy astronaut picture, and other digital ephemera. Of course, we wouldn't love Tumblr half so hard if we were there on our lonesome; that's why we made that handy guide to the other lit-loving Tumblogs that make our day on the regular.