Things That Don't Suck
, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.
I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.
[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Aug 19, 2014 -
Best Selling author Douglas Preston
, along with 907 other authors, signed a letter
that ran as a double full-page ad in yesterday’s print edition of the New York Times
, asking Amazon to stop blocking or delaying the sale of books on their site as a tactic to lower the e-book prices that Amazon is charged by the publisher Hachette.*
The three month dispute between Hachette and Amazon previously prompted a response by Amazon’s self-published authors and readers
, but it took an odd turn Saturday night when Amazon posted this letter
on a site called ReadersUnited.com, after sending it as an email to all of its Kindle Direct Publishing
authors. In that letter they include Hachette’s CEO’s email, and have asked their KDP authors to write to Hachette’s CEO telling him what they think about cheaper ebooks. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan
on Aug 11, 2014 -
"Certainly, there appears to be a large correlation between artists and depression. But I would argue that artistic expression is not a symptom of depression so much as a response to it. I see writing as an act of resistance against an occupying enemy who means to kill me. It’s why I’m writing this now." YA author Libba Bray on living with depression.
posted by changeling
on Mar 6, 2014 -
The 92 Street Y in New York has just launched an amazing online resource, 92Y On Demand
, with recordings from their massive catalog of some of the interviews and performances that have occurred there going back to 1949. Some of the many speakers include Kurt Vonnegut
, Chinua Achebe
, Sherman Alexie and Sapphire
, Dylan Thomas
, Maria Bamford
, Lou Reed
, Dan Savage
, Junot Díaz and Jamacica Kincaid
, Maurice Sendak
, Ruth Reichl with Ann Patchett, David Rakoff, and Leonard Lopate
, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson
posted by Toekneesan
on Nov 25, 2013 -
is a one day Twitter project
created by author Maureen Johnson
. There are only three rules: 1. Take a well-known book. (It’s up to you to define well-known.) 2. Imagine that book was written by an author of the OPPOSITE GENDER. 3. Now, COVERFLIP! Make the new cover and put it online. Tweet or Tumbl it with the tag #coverflip.
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on May 6, 2013 -
This 30-minute programme's been on Radio 4, the BBC's premier speech radio station, since 1998. Books are announced a month in advance, giving listeners a chance to read the chosen title before the discussion. James Naughtie then interviews the book's author about it in front of an audience of his (or her) readers, who also put questions of their own. My favourites from the programme's archive include Alan Bennet (Writing Home
), Clive James (Unreliable Memoirs
), Douglas Adams (a 1 hour special on Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
), Elmore Leonard (Rum Punch
), James Ellroy (Black Dahlia
), PJ O'Rourke (Holidays in Hell
) and Stephen Fry (The Hippopotamus
). No doubt you'll have your own. [more inside]
posted by Paul Slade
on Feb 12, 2013 -
[Contemporary Okinawan author] Medoruma cuts an odd figure. He plays the recluse but is also an angry writer, powerful and loquacious. His work is at times beautiful, and at others horrifying, often in quick succession…
posted by Nomyte
on Sep 21, 2012 -
"Book TV's After Words
features the author of a recently published hardback non-fiction book interviewed by a guest host with some knowledge, background, or connection to the subject matter of the book." There's also a podcast version (link goes to XML feed)
, for those who'd rather listen. Many more non-fiction author interviews can be found at Booknotes (transcripts and streaming video)
. If your tastes run to interviews with authors of fiction, check out the BBC's Modern Writers archive
. (BookTV (but not specifically After Words) previously, Booknotes (but before the series ended) previously.)
posted by cog_nate
on Jun 22, 2012 -
In 1929, John Galsworthy won a Guardian poll as the novelist most likely to still be read in 2029. Three years later, he won the Nobel Prize, and the prices of his first editions skyrocketed. His reputation has since been on a 80-year wane that shows no signs of abating. The New Yorker asks Why is Literary Fame So Unpredictable?
And who will they be teaching in literature class a century from now?
posted by Horace Rumpole
on May 22, 2012 -
Literary Style: 15 Writers' Bedrooms: Truman Capote
, Virginia Woolf
, Ernest Hemingway
, Flannery O'Connor
, Alexander Masters
, William S. Burroughs
, Slyvia Plath
, Henry David Thoreau
, Victor Hugo
, Emily Dickinson
, Miranda Seymour
, Mary Roach
, Marcel Proust
, Michael Morpurgo
, William Faulkner
posted by Fizz
on Apr 4, 2012 -
If “The Marriage Plot,” by Jeffrey Eugenides, had been written by a woman yet still had the same title and wedding ring on its cover, would it have received a great deal of serious literary attention? Or would this novel (which I loved) have been relegated to “Women’s Fiction,” that close-quartered lower shelf where books emphasizing relationships and the interior lives of women are often relegated? Certainly “The Marriage Plot,” Eugenides’s first novel since his Pulitzer Prize-winning “Middlesex,” was poised to receive tremendous literary interest regardless of subject matter, but the presence of a female protagonist, the gracefulness, the sometimes nostalgic tone and the relationship-heavy nature of the book only highlight the fact that many first-rate books by women and about women’s lives never find a way to escape “Women’s Fiction” and make the leap onto the upper shelf where certain books, most of them written by men (and, yes, some women — more about them later), are prominently displayed and admired.
So begins The Second Shelf: On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women
, an essay in the New York Times by novelist Meg Wolitzer. She was interviewed about her essay in the NYT Book Review podcast
(mp3 link, interview starts at about 18:30). Wolitzer references the classic 1998 essay by Francine Prose, Scent of a woman's ink: Are women writers really inferior?
, and further back in time you find Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own
, which, as literary critic Ruth Franklin notes
, still sounds fresh today.
posted by Kattullus
on Apr 4, 2012 -
"I always knew that Sugar was Cheryl, and that the anonymity was just a temporary experience, and it wasn’t going to be really who Sugar was in the end. I revealed myself to you. I only withheld one piece of pretty meaningless information: my name. But I showed myself to you." Dear Sugar
of The Rumpus is revealed to be author Cheryl Strayed. [more inside]
posted by mokin
on Feb 15, 2012 -
"You never hear, “Famous author Neil Gaiman caught with seven stewardesses in a Wichita bus depot.”
Chuck Wendig says, "We need literary rock star heroes to swoop in and save publishing."
Well, perhaps... But can you picture this?
"The authorial world demands this. And we’re not talking about some little Twitter snit, some online battle oozing across a handful of Livejournal comments. It’s not enough for Stephen King to talk to Entertainment Weekly and be all like, “Well, Stephenie Meyer is no J.K. Rowling, pfft.” I’m talking, Terry Pratchett needs to go and take a shit in Dan Brown’s mailbox."
posted by jenfullmoon
on Jul 30, 2011 -
They think of me as a scholar, an intellectual, a pen-pusher. And I am none of them. When I write, my fingers get covered not in ink but in blood. I think I am nothing more than this: an undaunted soul. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Nov 24, 2010 -
Libraries are, for many of us, the public places where we bring our most private selves, our fears and our dreams, so long buried and so studiously unspoken. The librarian checking out a stack of books may be for many of us, the equivalent of the first person we’ve told a secret to. Which brings me to the real reason I chose the profession that I did for my narrator: Even more than libraries, I love librarians.As Others See Us: An Author On Why She Loves Librarians
posted by carsonb
on Nov 24, 2010 -
New Maps of Science Fiction
The first question that naturally comes to mind about stories and authors is "How much do you like them?" Literary critics try to go far beyond this simple query, but it is the one that people ordinarily care most about, and for us it is the most important sociological question. Using modern techniques of analysis we can recover a tremendous amount of hidden information from statistics of people's likes and dislikes.
Analog Yearbook, 1977, pages 277-299. (via
posted by P.o.B.
on Jul 18, 2010 -