At Electric Literature, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer take a look at fantasy’s impact on comtemporary pop culture, in their introduction to the new collection, The Big Book of Modern Fantasy. “Fantasy becomes something of use to a writer to make a political or social statement,” they write. “It’s not just a mode, it’s a tool allowing conversation with predecessors and conversation with an often bewildering and sometimes horrifying world; it’s no surprise that absurdism and surrealism arose when they did.”
Penguin Books UK has started a podcast. I’ve added it to my Literary Podcasts post. (via)Law blog Groklaw has a good post explaining the Google Print project and the controversy surrounding it, and Lawrence Lessig has news of a program coming up at the New York Public Library on November 17 called “The Battle Over Books: Authors and Publishers Take on the Google Print Project.”Golden Rule Jones has a list of this year’s Chicago fiction, and at Pete Lit, Pete tells us about Chicago Noir, a collection edited by Neal Pollock with stories by Adam Langer, Kevin Guilfoile and others.
Maria Popova, who recently wrote a Year In Reading post for our series, has teamed up with artist Lisa Congdon on a new project concerning notable women working in art, science and literature. For each week in 2013, The Reconstructionists will present an illustrated portrait of one “trailblazing woman, along with a hand-lettered quote that captures her spirit.” Updates will also feature a “sort micro-essay about her life and legacy.” Up first in the series are Anaïs Nin, Gertrude Stein, Agnes Martin, and Hedy Lamarr.
Our own Emily St. John Mandel’s new novel The Lola Quartet is out today. New Yorkers can see her (and some other Millions staffers) read on Sunday. Also out are Robert Caro’s latest installment of his LBJ biography, Nell Freudenberger’s The Newlyweds, Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, and Steve Coll’s oil industry exposé Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power.
Wouldn’t it be nice if your brain just went ahead and created that pesky simile for you? For individuals suffering with synesthesia (a neurological disorder in which one sense is “cross-wired” with another, such as seeing the color red or hearing a sour taste) the brain does just that. Here’s a piece from Electric Literature that takes a look at synesthesia, substances, and seeing the world askew.