Leonard Michaels' "The Zipper"
: Rita Hayworth is never seen disrobed in the movie, though it is threatened more than once. The atmosphere of dark repression and mysterious forces – the mood or feeling of the movie – might be destroyed by the revelation of her body. It scared me as she began her striptease dance in the nightclub. I didn’t want everybody to see her body, or even to see that Rita Hayworth had a body. [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 5, 2011 -
Enclyclopedia Brown is a children's fiction series written by Donald J. Sobol since 1963 and still very popular today. These are the 10 most ridiculously difficult mysteries
in the series and baffling as to how a child is supposed to be able to solve them.
posted by rozomon
on Aug 30, 2011 -
"The most varied and fervorous literature of spanish speaking America is the Argentinian. The most sui generis (like the country itself) is the Chilean." Carlos Fuentes lists the novels of the 20th and, probably a little bit prematurely, 21st centuries which constitute the Latin American Canon
). [more inside]
posted by lucia__is__dada
on Aug 29, 2011 -
Case History Of A Wikipedia Page: Nabokov’s 'Lolita'
Since 2001, the Wikipedia entry on Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita has been edited 2,303 times. It's a popular entry, too: of approximately 750,000 Wiki articles out there, it ranks at 2,075 in traffic.
In the past ten years, the entry has grown to the detailed, 6,000-plus-word monolith of today. The two Lolita films now have their own pages, while the entry on the novel has expanded to include sections on such subjects as Lolita's Russian translation and its literary allusions. An edit is made, on average, about every other day.
posted by sweetkid
on Aug 23, 2011 -
"Certainly, Uncle Sam, disowned by Pakistanis, has found innumerable devoted nephews in India. Indian and Pakistani perceptions of America now wildly diverge: A 2005 Pew poll conducted in 16 countries found the United States in the highest regard among Indians (71 percent having a favorable opinion) and nearly the lowest among Pakistanis (23 percent).
" Why do India and Pakistan see America in such opposite ways?
posted by vidur
on Aug 17, 2011 -
"A difficult situation or problem whose seemingly alternative solutions are logically invalid." The tragicomic 1961 novel that sprang from Joseph Heller’s experience as a W.W. II bombardier mystified and offended many of the publishing professionals who saw it first. But thanks to a fledgling agent, Candida Donadio, and a young editor, Robert Gottlieb, it would eventually be recognized as one of the greatest anti-war books ever written. In an adaptation from his Heller biography, Tracy Daugherty recalls the tortured eight-year genesis of Catch-22 and its ultimate triumph. [more inside]
posted by WalterMitty
on Jul 25, 2011 -
Cult books come and cult books go - that's part of what it means to be a cult book. A few keep reappearing, however. They get discovered over and over by successive waves of admirers. After the third or fourth reappearance, the suspicion begins to arise that this isn't a cult book, after all. It's a masterpiece with problems. Islandia is such a book.
- Noel Perrin, "The Best of All Imaginary Islands" [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Jul 18, 2011 -
If we have, at the back of our minds, a stereotype of the censor or the censor type, it is probably of some nondescript male bureaucrat who comes to work punctually at 8:30 in the morning, locks his office door behind him, and spends the day going through piles of books, underlining dirty passages in red ink and stamping pass or fail on the cover, or else pouring over strips of film with scissors at the ready, ready to snip out images of breasts and bums, who, when the clock at last strikes 5:00, emerges into the daylight, catches the bus home to some anonymous suburb and spends the evening watching reruns of sitcoms on television before donning his pajamas and falling into a dreamless sleep. Or if we're thinking not of full time censors, people who dedicate their professional lives to the business of censoring, but of part time censors, people who like to do a bit of censoring on the side, then we might imagine that retired teachers, clergymen and moral busybodies in general would be attracted to the craft. But the records of the South African system don't quite fit the stereotype.
- J. M. Coetzee, Nobel laureate author, speaks at his alma mater University of Texas Austin about his experiences with censorship in his native South Africa during apartheid
. Coetzee mentions this essay he wrote about his time at UT Austin
and a book he wrote on censorship, here's the preface to it
posted by Kattullus
on Jul 11, 2011 -
Joseph Mitchell was a reporter. It's tempting to say his beat was the waterfront, but though he's certainly the poet laureate of the Fulton Fish Market, this would be too literal-minded and geographically limiting. His beat was the margins, including the metaphysical margin of life itself. Mitchell invented a temporal dimension for his stories, a strange and twilit place—Mitchell Time—where a density of historical fact and the feeling of whole eras fading from view are sharply juxtaposed with scenes of cinematic immediacy related in the present tense. A cozy aura of death pervades his work, which often features oldsters experiencing the chilling fear of its approach while gleefully playing hide-and-seek with the reaper.
- The Village Voice [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Jul 10, 2011 -
Roger Ebert has discovered the Macmillan Reader's Edition of The Great Gatsby
and he hates it: "This is an obscenity."
Macmillan Reader's Editions are geared to ESL students
. Ebert thinks that's a really bad idea: "Why not have ESL learners begin with Young Adult novels? Why not write books with a simplified vocabulary? Why eviscerate Fitzgerald?" [more inside]
posted by CCBC
on Jul 8, 2011 -
Stuck on a train for an hour every day and sick of sudoku? Hands love to knit but the brain gets bored? Riding out the recession as a streetcorner sign-twirler? Or maybe you've just got a burning desire for "cultural conversation of the depth you demand." If so, then Metafilter's own Colin Marshall
has got what you need at the Marketplace of Ideas
. [more inside]
posted by villanelles at dawn
on Jun 30, 2011 -
As much as any book I know, Crippled Detectives transcribes the dream state, not just in its flights of fancy and logic-jumping juxtapositions, but in the mutating narrative tactics, the topsy-turvy focus (the climax is over in a flash, whereas digressions distend to marvelous effect), and especially the inconsistent point of view... I forgot to mention that Lee Tandy Schwartzman was all of seven years old when she wrote it.
posted by Trurl
on Jun 27, 2011 -
R.M. Berry on Samuel Beckett's peculiar writing style:
"It's as though the narrator's words were almost thoughtless, accidental, written by someone paying no attention to what he or she says." Beckett is best known for his play Waiting For Godot
, in which "nothing happens, twice", but he was also an accomplished writer of prose, ranging from the relatively simple Three Novels
to the extremely minimal Imagination Dead Imagine
. Some of Beckett's more challenging short plays are available on YouTube: Play
), Not I
(the famous "mouth" play), and Come and Go
, one of the shortest plays in the English language (ranging between 121 and 127 words, depending on translation). Once he interviewed John Lennon and found out who the eggman really was.
Beckett's final creative work was his poem What Is the Word
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jun 25, 2011 -
, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English
. The current print version
, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation
. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker
, was always scathing
of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film
versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released
. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston
'The Definitive Solaris
' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available
, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves
posted by 0bvious
on Jun 19, 2011 -
Glee's Chris Colfer is writing a children's book.
The Land of Stories, aimed at middle grade readers, will come out next year.
He joins many other famous folks
who have decided to write for younger readers. Perez Hilton is doing one
. Madonna's done many
. Even the "stars" of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice got in on the kidlit craze
. Of course, many of these authors don't actually write the books
they publish. Even if/when they do, many readers find the results underwhelming. "If you are looking for the next Beatrix Potter or Maurice Sendak, you will not find it here
," claimed the Guardian. There are exceptions,
but it seems that for a lot of celebrities, literature for children has become merely another form of brand extension
. Author, Adam Rex has countered with "An Open Letter to Everyone Who Thinks it Must be Easy, Writing Kid's Books
" Or, as EB White said
, "You have to write up to children, not down..."
posted by cal71
on Jun 9, 2011 -
This is not an attempt to tweet mindlessly the entire contents of
Ulysses, word-for-word, 140 characters at a time. That would be dull and impossible. What is proposed here is a recasting or a reimagining of the reading experience of this novel, start to finish, within the confines of a day-long series of tweets from a global volunteer army of Joyce-sodden tweeps. (previously!)
posted by Trurl
on May 25, 2011 -
In such a world maximalism and encyclopedism, erudite puzzle solving, simply feel like more of the same, and the last thing we need is more of the same. We need less, much less: we don't need fiction that cultivates the general noise in a slightly more erudite way but still plays by the same rules; we need fiction that strips its way down to our nerves and fibers, simulations that are willing to cut enough of our context away to let us step outside of our own increasingly simulated experience and to see it afresh, from without.
—Brian Evenson, "Doing Without," an essay in The Collagist
(could also be titled "How a mistake in the digital conversion of a Cory Doctorow novel [see difference between print and electronic version] made me think about the meaning of innovative literature") [more inside]
posted by jng
on May 16, 2011 -