At BOMB Magazine, Caleb Azuma Nelson discusses his debut novel, Open Water, and the significance of its second person narrator. “Using the second person afforded more intimacy to the narrative,” Nelson says, “which meant that a reader was both audience and protagonist. It thrusts the reader as close as possible into the narrative, into that warmth, into that space where freedom might be found. I guess I’m asking for the reader to participate in the same vulnerability I had to access in order to write the book. I’m asking the reader to come closer, to feel what I felt, and to also tap into what they feel too.”
Literary Twitter has been on fire with #ManlyBookClubNames since The New York Times style section reported that apparently men have book clubs, too. “Perhaps because participation in reading groups is perceived as a female activity, some all-male book clubs have an outsize need to proclaim the endeavor’s masculinity.” If you’re looking for a book club, consider joining Adam Boretz’s Football Book Club.
James Franco isn’t done with William Faulkner’s oeuvre just yet. After screening his adaptation of As I Lay Dying (trailer here) at the Cannes Film Festival this year, Franco announced that he plans on bringing The Sound and the Fury to the big screen next.
“For about 15 years, every time I had a really good dance party that went late, with people lolling around drunk and exhausted, at about 2 a.m., I would hand out paper and ask everyone to draw a vomiting cat. . . . I ended up with an incredibly thick file of drawings, some by people who went on to be published cartoonists and writers.” The New York Times reports that (Year in Reading alum) Jonathan Lethem has sold his papers to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, a trove that includes comic books, manuscript drafts, notes, letters, and yes, drawings of vomiting cats. You can read our review of Lethem’s Dissident Gardens, which may or may not feature hairballs in a crucial plot point, here.
Matthew Stadler of Publication Studio hits NYC on his NAFTA tour just in time for the 4th of July weekend. The Saturday evening begins with a ghost tour of sorts, of the city’s “disappeared bookstores,” and a lavish Mexican dinner will follow. If the feasts in Stadler’s latest novel, Chloe Jarren’s La Cucaracha, are any indication, expect copious cocktails and intriguing conversations. More details here.
“On my manhood rests a tattooed / portrait of Mr. President. / My beloved found that out after we wed. / She was utterly gutted, / Inconsolable.” Poet Maung Saungkha may have to prove in a Myanmar courtroom that he doesn’t have a tattoo of the nation’s president on his genitals.