Joy Williams on Flannery O'Connor:
Flannery. She liked to drink Coca-Cola mixed with coffee. She gave her mother, Regina, a mule for Mother’s Day. She went to bed at 9 and said she was always glad to get there. After Kennedy’s assassination she said: “I am sad about the president. But I like the new one.” As a child she sewed outfits for her chickens and wanted to be a cartoonist.
She reluctantly traveled to Lourdes and claimed she prayed for the novel she was working on, “The Violent Bear It Away,” which she referred to as Opus Nauseous. She referred to each of her novels as Opus Nauseous.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Joy Williams on Flannery O'Connor:
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
This has been out for awhile, but I'm just getting around to it. Zadie Smith on Obama in The New York Review of Books:
Right up to the wire, Obama made many black men and women of Jackson's generation suspicious. How can the man who passes between culturally black and white voices with such flexibility, with such ease, be an honest man? How will the man from Dream City keep it real? Why won't he speak with a clear and unified voice? These were genuine questions for people born in real cities at a time when those cities were implacably divided, when the black movement had to yell with a clear and unified voice, or risk not being heard at all. And then he won. Watching Jesse Jackson in tears in Grant Park, pressed up against the varicolored American public, it seemed like he, at least, had received the answer he needed: only a many-voiced man could have spoken to that many people.
Posted by escapegrace at 8:25 AM
Sunday, February 22, 2009
- One-Eyed Robot Sorts Cards and Solves Business Problem (1931)
- Nine Inch Nails will tour with Jane's Addiction.
- F*** My Life
- Five Chapters has a previously unpublished story by John Cheever.
- Heavy Metal Band Names Explained (via @WFMU)
- Times Online's Bryan Appleyard dissects the "blogscape" and lists his top 100 blogs. Lynne Robinson lists the 50 best food blogs.
- Gary Shteyngart's Guide to Being a Novelist
- Design Observer offers a history of the canvas tote (via @luxlotus).
- The 2008 Believer Book Award: Editors' Short List
- If Rappers Were Characters from The Wire (via @titoperez)
Posted by escapegrace at 9:20 AM
Saturday, February 21, 2009
In preparation for the Oscars tomorrow, here are 8 humiliating Japanese ads starring Oscar nominees. While you don't have to tell me twice to check out Brad Pitt's jeans, this totally bizarre commercial with Nicholas Cage is my favorite:
Posted by escapegrace at 4:54 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2009
- Caution! Zombies! Ahead!!!
- Shiksa means awesome, right?
- "Ryan Started the Fire"
- The White Stripes will reunite for Conan's last night.
- Know Your Meme is a meme database (via VSL).
- Matthew Baldwin covers mindf*ck movies for The Morning News.
- The Obameter tracks how well Obama is keeping his campaign promises.
- This is why you're fat.
- Explore a giant tunnel beneath Brooklyn (via daily dose).
- Devolve Me.
- This is the smartest idea I've heard in some time.
- Victor Solomon has collected every swear word on every episode of The Sopranos, ever, in chronological order.
- Alain de Botton suggests some Valentine's Day reading.
- NPR offers The Make-Out Mix.
Posted by escapegrace at 10:13 AM
Saturday, February 14, 2009
1. A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar
This was a great book with which to begin the year - witty, detailed, and full of energy. The main character - an Egyptian-Palestinian adolescent girl in Kuwait - practically runs off the page. Having followed Randa's blog since long before the book was published, I was really hoping the book would be a smash and it surpassed my expectations.
2. Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell
A friend gave me this book at my going away party this summer in New York and I finally got around to reading it. What was I waiting for? This book is a syntactic treasure. Each and every line describing the life of a repressed mid-century matron is crafted to so accurately capture the seething reality below the pretense that it is painful and, yet, hilarious. And then so painful again.
3. The Collector by John Fowles
I will never be able to watch a crime show on TV that pictures a young girl kidnapped and kept in a creep's basement - and believe me, there are so many (three at least in the past two weeks!) - without returning to this book. Miranda has now become the narrative epitome of every "collected" innocent struggling to survive in captivity. Fowles's ending approaches perfection.
4. Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties by Beth Kobliner
This book might have been helpful if it was 1997 and I was not slipping out of its target audience a little more each day.
5. McSweeney's Issue 29
I just started my first subscription to McSweeney's Quarterly. Some of the stories were fantastic and all were worth reading. I do have to steal a line from my friend, however. He mentioned that while all of the writing was terrific, some of the plots were not worthy of the prose, like watching a bad movie with amazing special effects.
6. Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson
So far this year, between A Map of Home and Jane, written by a grad school colleague, I am pretty darn proud of the women writers I know. Maggie's poetic processing of her aunt's brutal murder is so inventive and moving, I had to stop and literally catch my breath at one point in a crowded waiting room and I didn't care who noticed. Buy this book.
Posted by escapegrace at 4:58 PM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Classic venue The Smell is on this week's cover of LA Weekly and the subject of a feature story (with sideshow) by Jessica Hopper.
The Smell — like most clubs, a depot of questionable haircuts and loud bands — doesn’t at first glance seem remarkable. But many consider it a different kind of place from other clubs that came before it. It’s an all-ages, no-booze, not-for-profit operation that shuns most of the hierarchies of cool and is staffed by punk-minted teenage volunteers, legit and steadfast. And right now, it’s at the center of the worldwide underground, a positive role model for the DIY ideals of community, safe space and inclusion. Plus, it books some of the country’s most exciting bands, with No Age, Abe Vigoda and Mika Miko its sweaty ambassadors. The Smell makes good on punk’s long-unfulfilled promises and offers a working model of what community can be.
The Smell not only gave No Age and other bands a place to play, but it also indoctrinated the musicians on how to approach their careers, gave them an ideological toehold in the scene, and fostered them amid equanimity and fellowship. So what becomes of you after you exit that community? What happens when the dogma of “no hierarchy” is eschewed, and you are assigned a new role, as kings of the scene?
Posted by escapegrace at 8:09 AM
Monday, February 09, 2009
In Granta's "Fathers" issue, Maud Newton recalls harboring a prostitute in her home as a child.
Exactly how long the prostitute, unbeknownst to my father, stayed at our house and slept in my bed is hard to gauge. Nowadays time lacks the expansive quality it had when I was eleven years old. But more than three weeks and less than five months elapsed between the day she moved in and the terrible afternoon he noticed her crouching behind the frosted glass shower door in the front bathroom, and kicked her out.
Other contributors to the issue include Siri Hustvedt, Alison Bechdel, Jonathan Lethem, and Ali Smith.
Posted by escapegrace at 8:18 AM
Sunday, February 08, 2009
- View a clip from John Krasinski's adaptation of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
- See also: Elissa Bassist's baker's dozen of feelings about Infinite Jest.
- The Guardian lists 1000 novels everyone must read.
- Christian Bale takes David to the Dentist.
- 'Breakup Letter Taped to Baby' and other photos from The Onion 'Growing Up' slideshow.
- See also: The Evolution of the College Dorm
- Despite everything #stimpak related, it's just plain nice to have a President who randomly submits op-eds to the local paper.
- BronxRhymes uses Google Maps to track the history of hip hop.
- Life is like a box of terrible analogies.
Posted by escapegrace at 10:11 AM