"[S]uch pure pop storytelling that reading it is like hearing the best song of summer squirt out of the radio. Both the author and his subjects are so audacious that they frequently made me laugh out loud…. 'Even the dullest skyjacking made for scintillating copy. And the truly sensational ones were like gifts from the journalism gods.' Upon Mr. Koerner, those gods have smiled." —The New York Times kind of likes Brendan I. Koerner’s The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking. For what it's worth, I do too.
"Tom Sharpe, who has died aged 85, was in the great tradition of English comic novelists and his bawdy style and vulgar approach were said to have made bad taste into an art form – like 'PG Wodehouse on acid', in the words of one critic. Sharpe did not start writing comic novels until 1971, when he was 43, but once he got going he gained a large readership. He was a huge bestseller whose hardback editions sold like most authors only sell in paperback." I will personally vouch for Blott On The Landscape, if you're unfamiliar with the work.
It says here that Lori Carson's Where It Goes was one of the 10 best albums of the '90s, a decade that had a pretty good amount of best albums in it. Anyway, her debut novel The Original 1982 is out today. I don't know much about it, but there's a whole long-ass interview with her here that is worth listening to. (Also if you have never heard Where It Goes I should warn you that it is just a tad bleak, so if you're currently in a staying-away-from-the-sharp-objects mood you might want to steer clear for the moment. Unless you want to wallow, it's a great [...]
I don't know what you did from Friday to Sunday, but I spent the weekend putting together the proposal for the book I have so long refused countless entreaties to write. Boo Hoo Hoo I'm Sad: A History Of Why I Suck is pitched as a memoir—because, really, that's the only way to sell anything these days; unless it happened to you (or, you know, "happened" to you) apparently it does not appeal to the only prurient interests that remain susceptible enough to manipulation in our post-literate society to entice the purchase of a piece of print carrying no perfume samples within its covers—but is less a recounting of all [...]
Internet, yay! Internet, oh no!—surely, it’s obvious by now that there is as much reason for hope as there is for fear from our technological future. A rational and nuanced criticism will seek to define our true circumstances, identify dangers, and encourage beneficial progress. Thus far, however, tech critics have tended to extremes, either for or against the Internet: wringing their hands á la Nicholas Carr (The Shallows), or busting out the pompoms in the manner of Jeff Jarvis (What Would Google Do?). This simple-minded stuff will no longer do. It's into the vacuum of a powerfully felt need that contemporary theorists like Evgeny Morozov and Jaron Lanier have been [...]
"I think it would bring shame to anyone who was trying to read that book on the subway.” —In an age where people feel comfortable listing the TV shows they like on their resumes, are we really going to mock readers who carry around a copy of The Great Gatsby with a movie tie-in cover rather than the cover everyone knows from high school? Go ahead, laugh now, but in ten years when the only thing you ever see people reading is the novelization of "Angry Birds" or Fifty Shades of Grey for Kids you will look back at this era as the last moment of intellectual striving.
Here Are The Books Repressed People Who Hate Themselves And Others Don't Want Kids To Read This Year
You would think by this point the people who are so insistent that nobody learn about life through literature would realize that there are maybe eight kids total who are still reading books and it would make more sense to focus their censorious impulses elsewhere, but I guess they're gonna keep at it until their God calls them home or whatever.
"We are THRILLED AND TICKLED BEYOND BELIEF to announce the launch of Lizzie Skurnick Books, your gateway to the best YA from the 1930s through the 1970s. Get ready: Starting this fall, we'll be publishing a novel a month for your pleasure, delectation, and book-collecting needs. For Fall 2013, join us in welcoming back novels from seven pioneers in the field: Y.A. greats Lois Duncan, M.E. Kerr, Ellen Conford, Lila Perl, Sandra Scoppettone and Berthe Amoss, and MacArthur 'genius' award-winner Ernest J. Gaines. " —Do this or I won't like you anymore.
In the early 80s, William F. Buckley, Jr. offered David Brooks a job at The National Review on the strength of Brooks' parody of Buckley in the undergraduate newspaper at the University of Chicago. ("Buckley spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs," etc.) Some five decades earlier, James Agee found himself in a parallel, if far less ideologically stable, arrangement.
As a serious undergraduate poet at Harvard, Agee helmed an ambitious and withering satire of Henry's Luce's Time in an issue of the Harvard Advocate that went comparatively viral. Like any mogul, Luce knew that it’s better to have someone in the building throwing bricks [...]
"The summer following the winter that my mother took off into something called Women's Land for what I could only guess would be all eternity, my father decided that there was no choice but for him to quit his despised job and take me and my brother to the beach for at least the entire summer and possibly longer."
—How can you not want to read September Girls since it has one of the great first sentences of all time?
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway was published on this day in 1925. Set on a single day in London, in June of 1923, it tells the parallel stories of Clarissa Dalloway, who is throwing a party, and Septimus Warren Smith, a shell-shocked World War One veteran. A perfect high modernist work, here are some of the reasons why the book still matters.
Woolf makes us care about a fancy middle-aged lady throwing a party.
From the opening line of the book—"Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."—we know we are with a married woman who is rich enough to have people around her to do errands for her. [...]
"The information economy that we are currently building doesn't really embrace capitalism, but rather a new form of feudalism," writes Jaron Lanier, in Who Owns the Future? That book is published today, and you can order it from all the usual places. (Indiebound; Amazon; McNally Jackson; Barnes & Noble; Powell's. See what I did there?)
Jaron Lanier is the author of You Are Not a Gadget, and is a "scholar-at-large" at Microsoft Research. LOL he's also working on an alternative to the space elevator.
But right now, he's looking at how things have come to work on the web. "The primary business of [...]
In real life, William Gibson looks like you would imagine. A little older than the Gibson you imagine, but he was born in 1948, so it only stands to reason. He is gaunt and affable, clothes black, smart looking frames on his eyeglasses, more avuncular than professorial. And he really talks like that! Those neologisms and the sizzling chrome-finished turns of phrase? They fall out of his mouth in the course of conversation. He lives the gimmick.
"Beauty is a responsibility like anything else, beautiful women have special lives like prime ministers but I don't want that."
The writer and painter Leonora Carrington was 33 and a very beautiful woman when she wrote that line in The Hearing Trumpet, a book that is, among many other topics—alchemy, the Holy Grail, the perversities of nuns, the difficulties of getting goats and wolves to live together—also about being very, very old. This was in 1950; her best friend was a Spanish painter named Remedios Varo.
In the book, Carrington appears under the alias Marian Leatherby, who is 92 and has a beard. She has no [...]
A note in Barbara Pym's diary instructs: "Read some of Jane Austen's last chapters and find out how she manages all the loose ends." Next entry, a fairly typical one: "The Riviera Cafe, St. Austell is decorated in shades of chocolate brown. Very tasteless, as are the cakes." This was written in 1952. She was 38, had published two novels, Some Tame Gazelle and the resplendent Excellent Women, and was at work on the next. It had taken 15 years of dutiful revising and circulating it around for Some Tame Gazelle to find a publisher. During the rewrites she had tried to heed her agent's advice to "be more wicked, [...]
Nicki likes Lip Gloss, Purses, Yoga, Pole Dancing, Uggs, Louboutins, Juice Cleanses, Iced coffee and Tattoos. @blingringmovie
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) May 2, 2012
Nancy Jo Sales published "The Suspects Wore Louboutins" in Vanity Fair in March of 2010. Sofia Coppola announced optioning the article by December of 2011; Emma Watson was cast by February of 2012; the resulting movie, The Bling Ring, opens in a month.
But first! Tomorrow comes The Bling Ring—the book. Nancy Jo Sales started afresh. She already had, after all, endless hours of interviews with the crowd of young people in Southern California who burgled celebrity homes. In [...]
Stephen Rodrick, a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, of late best known for the single best story on Lindsay Lohan ever, has a new book out today called The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey Into His Father’s Life. His father, Commander Peter Rodrick, died in 1979 when his Prowler crashed into the ocean. The book traces the aftermath of his father’s death for his young family, and its ripple effects in Rodrick’s adult life—but is also a book documenting military life today. It's also really good, particularly in the way it calibrates the telling of such an openly emotional story. It’s not easy [...]
"I did not learn to cook, either. Instead I have become a superior dinner guest. I am wonderful to have at your side while you cook, particularly if you give me a glass of wine, and also to have sit at your table, because I will appreciate your food in a deep, emotional and highly verbal way." —Awl pal Jami Attenberg reminds us that the key ingredient in chicken noodle soup is "guilt." In other news, her wonderful novel The Middlesteins has been picked up by German publishing company Schoffling & Co. It's fun to imagine the conversations at the office about how to handle the retitling of [...]
"Most public health people think that the ends justify the means" is how Florida International University's Bill Darrow explains why it was okay for Randy Shilts' publisher to completely over-bake the idea of Gaëtan Dugas being the "Patient Zero" of HIV. Everyone at the time knew this wasn't possibly a true idea, that one handsome flight attendant was responsible for hopping around the globe, spreading HIV. Yet the idea stuck. And apparently everyone is okay with it, and besides, he was dead anyway by 1984, and couldn't sue for libel. But anyway, that's actually not really how public health people think? Public health policy people are level-headed and statistics-oriented. [...]