“I really don’t know if Maya has fallen out of love with her husband or is just afraid that she has, or, maybe, is actually afraid that her husband has stopped loving her. I don’t know that because Maya herself doesn’t. If she knew herself and her feelings so well, I believe she would have chosen a more pragmatic hobby than writing.”—The Book Bench: This Week in Fiction: Etgar Keret : The New Yorker
3AM:On Facebook you said your new novel is called Crapalachia, but the excerpt that was published at BombBlog says its called Hill William. Can you elaborate, both on the former title and why there’s two different titles?
SM:No, they’re two different novels. I don’t even know what a novel is really, but I’m calling them novels. I really think they’re more like “books.” Hill William is for the ladies, and (like Wu Tang) Crapalachia is for the children.
My top two travel-oriented books of the year would have to be Karl Taro Greenfeld’s short story collection, NowTrends, and On Holiday, Orvar Lofgren’s history of vacationing. Greenfeld’s book (which was published by Short Flight/Long Drive Books, a tiny independent press) offers an authentic and affecting look into various corners of Asia, Europe, and North America. Though obviously fiction, NowTrends has a journalistic attention to setting and detail—which is no surprise, since Greenfeld cut his teeth as a writer for magazines like Time and Sports Illustrated.
Rolf Potts is the author of Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, and Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations From One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer.
Every year, Maker’s Mark Bourbon sends their Maker’s Mark Ambassadors a special holiday gift. Last year, it was the Makers Mark ice ball maker. This year, Maker’s Mark has sent all on their “nice list” of ambassadors a holiday themed sweater to dress up a bottle of Maker’s Bourbon.
Maker’s Mark tells BourbonBlog.com that the sweaters were an idea born from the fact that on Christmas, everyone at the Samuels family wears festive sweaters. So, Maker’s Mark wanted to do the same for their Ambassadors, who Maker’s Mark’s says are “like extended family.” We thought having a sweater to put on your bottle would be a fun twist on this old tradition.
Have you received YOUR sweater from Maker’s Mark yet?
Amazon is offering a new thing for new things. Publishers can list their eBooks with them exclusively (for at minimum 90 days) and get enrolled in their Amazon Prime lending program thing. That is for people who have the Kindle and pay for Amazon Prime; they can borrow one book a month and…
Hey Hobart crew! I picked Novy's AVIAN GOSPELS for my #yir2011 piece on The Millions today. Wanted to give you the heads up, but also wanted to thank you for releasing that little devil. One of the most enjoyable (not to mention beautiful) books I've read in a long, long time! - Nick
Thanks for the heads up, Milli (said like Lil’ Wayne, obvs.).
Most people can’t, or at least don’t, read a 925-page book in a couple of nights. In fact, if you happen to have any of the following: (i) a television, (ii) access to the Internet, (iii) one or more children, (iv) regular bathing habits, or (v) gainful employment in a job where your responsibilities do not include getting paid to read books, it would probably be difficult to finish a book this long in a week, or even two. Life just gets in the way. For argument’s sake, let’s assume it would be closer to a month, a month in which a typical person might take 30 showers, eat 90 meals, spend maybe 200 hours at work.
The point is that when you read a book as long as 1Q84, you don’t just read it: you live with it for a while. If the book is good, you look forward to spending time alone with it. You sneak away from this or that, steal a few minutes here and there, find opportunities to get a few more pages in. Instead of life getting in the way of reading, the reading starts to get in the way of life. A very long book can even come to define a a kind of personal era, albeit a short one, a piece of time that you can look back on and remember as having a particular texture: from the global (ups and downs in the stock market, political unrest) to the personal (what was going on at the office, the songs that were on the radio). Whatever happened during that month gets woven into the experience. And the converse may also happen: The book inserts itself into your consciousness. It becomes associated with, and even part of, what happened to you during that period of your life. To read a novel of this length is to be immersed, to move back and forth between the fictional world and the real one, and in so doing, to see the latter through a point of view invented in the former…
“You have to earn the right to remove yourself from the chaos of the world in order to focus. When Kanye decided to flee to Hawaii to record My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, that was OK because he’s earned to right to do things like that. If Waka Flocka Flame, on the other hand, claimed that he could record Lebron Flocka James 3 only in a hut atop a mountain in Nepal, the world would throw a challenge flag… stop pretending like you’ve made six classic albums”—On Writing: Kourtney & Kim Take New York Recap: All About Kris - Hollywood Prospectus Blog
A typewriter These days, everyone can type faster than they can write by hand. The problem is, typing on the computer, even with distraction-free software, inevitably leads to internet distractions. Typewriters are the intersection of this Venn diagram.
LISA LOCASCIO on Melinda Moustakis’ Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories
Melinda Moustakis Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories University of Georgia Press, September 2011. 150 pp.
This is one of the author’s great gifts: cultivating in the reader true understanding of her characters’ wilderness, the way it nurtures and shapes them. Bear Down, Bear North repositions Alaska as part of the environment that Margaret Atwood describes in Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature as “active, female and sinister.” Moustakis argues for her characters’ personal wildness, naming it as the condition that enables her women to break away from prescribed identities. Her stories explore the impact of wilderness on women who, like Colleen, have been born into Alaska and must cope with the landscape, but also of those who have chosen the Yukon, like the Soldotna-based doctor who appears in several stories, both a bearer and a deserter of civilization. Moustakis skillfully shows how a woman can benefit from a different kind of natural law. Here the rules about what — and who —constitutes prey loosen: the doctor “isn’t as gentle as she should be” as she removes a fishhook from a man’s mouth..
“That’s why I write violence like I do: I want it to be horrifying and beautiful. Unfortunately, violence is cool. I’m not immune—I always watch Kill Bill and Scarface when they’re on cable. It’s disturbing. Everyone knows that torture doesn’t work as an intelligence-gathering method, but our country did it anyway because it simply couldn’t stop. It was a kind of jacking off, the only kind that certain political parties seem to approve of.”—
I linked to this yesterday, but there’s just too much goodness, too many cut-and-pasteable quotes, to not do so again.
“This was the sixth night in a row the woman had watched the same movie. The woman in the movie had a pained expression on her face. The woman’s face was pained similarly. The woman in the movie spent two hours searching for her dog and then left her anyway.”—December elimae is live, featuring a short by SF/LD Editor, Elizabeth Ellen.