Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Recommended reading: Jonathon Safran Foer is Blind, Deaf and Dumb

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Story behind the Story

We’re living in the reality show version of reality, is why—and we’ve been living in it for a while now. The story behind the story has become the only tale to tell. It’s about transparency, and disabuse: the democratization of the hero, or the hero’s devaluation into celebrity, this seemingly American sense that there’s a system in place, an equal opportunity system by which anyone can claim the world’s attention. Art is now concerned with figuring that out—with laying bare or appearing to lay bare the processes by which the people we read about or watch or listen to become “themselves,” so that we can have what they have too—everyone gets a turn, in this strange collaboration between insatiability and fairness.
- Joshua Cohen

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nabokov in America

Excerpt from "Nabokov in America: On the Road to Lalita" by Robert Roper via

To be in America that summer was most excellent luck. The Nabokovs had been through the historical wringer; they were Zelig-like figures of 20th-century catastrophe, dispossessed of their native Russia by the Bolsheviks, hair’s-breadth escapees of the Nazis, “little” people with murderous evil breathing down their necks. Had they been in Russia, they might have been starving to death or dying of cholera during the Siege of Leningrad, the most calamitous siege in world history; had they remained in France, Véra Nabokov, who was Jewish, and her young son, Dmitri, would likely have been on their way to Drancy, the French internment camp that directly fed Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sponsored fiction

Before novelist Haruki Murakami became an international literary giant, he was a brand writer for apparel company Onward Kashuyama. But he wasn’t just cranking out traditional ad copy—he was writing branded fiction.

Read on ..

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Joy of Throwing Out

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Recommended reading: "Let us talk about genre"

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ursula K. Le Guin on Amazon model of publishing

As a book dealer and publisher, Amazon wants no competitors, admits no responsibilities, and takes no risks.
Its ideal book is a safe commodity, a commercial product written to the specifications of the current market, that will hit the BS list, get to the top, and vanish. Sell it fast, sell it cheap, dump it, sell the next thing.  No book has value in itself, only as it makes profit. Quick obsolescence, disposability — the creation of trash — is an essential element of the BS machine. Amazon exploits the cycle of instant satisfaction/endless dissatisfaction.Every book purchase made from Amazon is a vote for a culture without content and without contentment.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Literary Truth

 Literary truth is not the truth of the biographer or the reporter, it’s not a police report or a sentence handed down by a court. It’s not even the plausibility of a well-constructed narrative. Literary truth is entirely a matter of wording and is directly proportional to the energy that one is able to ­impress on the sentence. And when it works, there is no stereotype or cliché of popular literature that resists it. It reanimates, revives, subjects ­everything to its needs.
--Elena Ferrante

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Literature shows old problems of human beings: Horacio Castellanos Moya

When you read and you look along history, there are some features of human beings that have always been there. It’s like torture, violence, this passion for killing that now you see everywhere. Why did human beings become so fucking crazy? Of course you can give explanations about why there is killing in Israel and Palestine, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and Mexico. You can mention a lot of countries and say, “Why? Why this need to kill?” There is a pleasure [to killing] of course, otherwise you don’t do it. I think that literature, in a sense, shows these kinds of old problems of human beings in a very precise society. So I show these kinds of issues of violence, of paranoia, of torture, of trying to survive in the very precise society that was the Central American society of the 80's and 90's. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Edurado Mendoza wins 2015 International Franz Kafka Prize

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