On November 24, 1948, Vernon Sullivan disappeared. Two years earlier he had caused a scandal in Paris when Editions du Scorpion published his first novel, I Spit on Your Graves. Sullivan was black, but passed as white. He was tired of reading about "good blacks" in American novels, "the type that whites affectionately pat on the back" and he wanted to write something that portrayed a harder world, the one he knew from life. His book was brutal, sexually explicit, and racially taboo. Its protagonist is Lee Anderson, a blond, blue-eyed black man who arrives in the Midwestern town of Buckton intent on avenging the lynching of his baby brother. [...]
There are many reasons it's worth your time and energy and money to read James Wood's piece in the new New Yorker about drumming and Keith Moon. Here are a few choice bits:
"How a drummer hits the snare, and how it sounds, can determine a band's entire dynamic. Groups like Supertramp and the Eagles seem soft, in large part, because the snare is so drippy and mildly used (and not just because elves are apparently squeezing the singers' testicles.)"
(Wood should totally be writing for Summer of Megadeth.)
If you are still on the fence about Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle, which, in my rambling and inarticulate way, I suggested you read back in June, you should definitely take a look at James Wood's review in the New Yorker, which does an excellent job of explaining just what it is that makes the book so compelling. Again, it's not for everyone, but this will give you a pretty solid indication as to whether or not it's for you.
In "My Disappointment Critic," the essay excerpted in the Los Angeles Review of Books from Jonathan Lethem's new collection, the author defends his book The Fortress of Solitude (eight whole years later!) against what he considers to be an unfair review written by the august literary critic James Wood.
"Why, I hear you moan in your sheets, [...] violate every contract of dignity and decency, why embarrass us and yourself, sulking over an eight-year-old mixed review?" Lethem asks in the very first paragraph. The fairness of this question is evident in the general response to the essay so far, e.g. this comment: "Nothing more tedious than authors [...]