For the Los Angeles Times, Charles Yu reflects on the rise in anti-Asian harassment and violence, and how storytelling can resist the dehumanization that stems from erasure. “Dehumanization cuts across race, sex, gender, religion,” Yu writes. “It has long affected Black and brown and Indigenous Americans, LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. As Asians in America, we should not be satisfied with being part of someone else’s story, some grand narrative handed down to us. I hope we can strive to tell our own stories, and to use whatever platform or ability we have to also amplify the stories of other marginalized people who seek the same thing.”
The New York Review of Books gets into the blog game with…well, it’s not a blog, exactly, but then I guess neither are we these days. With The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post also clamoring for the attention of bookish web-surfers, there’s more book-focused content online than ever. So why do I find most of it gives me a headache?
“Do you know the philosopher Slavoj Žižek?” asks John Jeremiah Sullivan in his interview for the LA Review of Books. “He has this thing about love, the evil of love, and he says, I really don’t like love, because what love says is: I pick you out from everything, and I’m going to give you special attention, meaning that everything else is denigrated, and he says there’s something a little evil in that, and in the same way I think that there something a little philistine about lists.”
We’ve seen a lot of interesting literary fundraisers (and are still a bit in awe of Catstarter) but a recent campaign goes beyond the usual Kickstarter: a group of well-known American writers, from Heather McHugh to Philip Levine to Rebecca Makkai, will be selling manuscript critiques later this month to benefit Caregifted.org.
A while back, Frank Ocean alluded to the possibility of one day writing a novel. Asked by Guardian interviewer Rebecca Nicholson about his immediate plans following the success of his last album, Channel Orange, the musician replied, “I might just write a novel next.” The response seemed unserious. But now, in Jeff Himmelman’s long profile of Ocean for The New York Times Magazine, it appears the idea may have a bit more traction. “It’s fiction,” says Ocean. “And it’s about brothers.”
“Marlon James’s management of the voice and the paragraph isn’t what you’d call unpretty, and he’s good at having it both ways on a larger scale too. Reptilian black-ops masterminds out of a Robert Stone novel as well as bumbling CIA bureaucrats, baroque deaths in the bush and casual killings by the side of the road, historical and magic realism, sex and violence and a more ‘sophisticated kind of art’: the guy’s got it all.” This review of James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings from The London Review of Books is well worth the read.
“I wasn’t exactly feeling this. Still, I did try to rationalize what I was doing: maybe being altruistic and selfish at the same time was actually a good way to live, making sure sacrifice doesn’t go too far?” A psalm for a selfish hospice volunteer from Andy Mozina over at Electric Literature.