"Longings and Desires"
, a Slate.com book review by Amanda Katz:
[Sarah] Waters, who was born in Wales in 1966, has carved out an unusual spot in fiction. Her six novels, beginning with Tipping the Velvet in 1998, could be called historical fiction, but that doesn’t begin to capture their appeal. It is closer to say that she is creating pitch-perfect popular fiction of an earlier time, but swapping out its original moral engine for a sensibility that is distinctly queer and contemporary, as if retrofitting a classic car.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome
on Sep 20, 2014 -
Her books offer something like an alternate reality—a literary one, if not a historical one. There may have been lesbian male impersonators working the London music halls in the 1890s, as in Tipping the Velvet, but there were certainly not mainstream novels devoted to their inner lives and sexual exploits. Waters gives such characters their say in books that imitate earlier crowd-pleasers in their structure, slang, and atmosphere, but that are powered by queer longing, defiant identity politics, and lusty, occasionally downright kinky sex. (An exception is her last novel, The Little Stranger.) The most masterful of these books so far is Fingersmith, a Wilkie Collins-esque tale full of genuinely shocking twists (thieves, double-crossing, asylums, mistaken identity, just go read it). The saddest is The Night Watch, a tale told in reverse of a group of entwined characters during and after World War II. But among many readers she is still most beloved for Tipping the Velvet, a deliriously paced coming-of-age story that is impossible to read in public without blushing.
are thoughtful and measured, but the premise that frames them all is shaky; Lessig doesn't offer much proof that a Soviet-style loss of privacy and freedom is on its way. … Unlike actual law, Internet software has no capacity to punish. It doesn't affect people who aren't online (and only a tiny minority of the world population is). And if you don't like the Internet's system, you can always flip off the modem." — David Pogue is the creator of the ''Missing Manual'' series, which will include guides to Mac OS 9, Outlook Express and Windows 2000.
posted by Nomyte
on Sep 19, 2013 -
"A talented writer such as John Jeremiah Sullivan might, fifty years ago, have tried to explore his complicated feelings about the South, and about race and class in America, by writing fiction, following in the footsteps of Walker Percy and Eudora Welty. Instead he produced a book of essays, called Pulphead
, on the same themes; and the book was received with the kind of serious attention and critical acclaim that were once reserved for novels. But all is not as it seems. You do not have to read very far in the work of the new essayists to realize that the resurrection of the essay is in large measure a mirage
) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan
on Feb 22, 2013 -
The myth of English as a global language One would have to say that English, far from being a pure maiden, looks like a woman who has appeared out of some distant fen, had more partners than Moll Flanders, learned a lot in the process, and is now running a house of negotiable affection near an international airport
posted by infini
on May 26, 2012 -
What journalists who blog think “blogging” is.
Lizzie Skurnick (pseudonymous author of the literary blog the Old Hag
) almost got called up to the Show – the New York Times
actually asked her to write. But under their terms. And that’s the problem:
[T]he media who, after constantly treating me as an amusing quantity who, despite the zillions of print articles I have written, is still a blogger, while they, who are now blogging, because they crashed their whole goddamn field, are somehow not bloggers except for how maybe they are running blogs, want to tell me what to do.... You link wrong. You’re not funny.... You think posts are something you “pitch.” [...] You think other bloggers should respond to other bloggers, preferably in chin-stroking ways like “I appreciate your thoughts, Gwendolyn, yet I….” You want headlines maximized for SEO.... Worse, you seem to take blogging as some amusing shift you’ve been asked to do that is entirely within your powers. You are a fancy important journalist! You are an actual writer. OK, maybe you are. But you are sure as hell not a blogger any more than that dude with the novel in the drawer is a novelist.
posted by joeclark
on Jun 14, 2010 -
"This is a novel born out of the intersection of two eras.
The first is a story of the Cultural Revolution, a time of fanaticism, repressed instincts, and tragic fates, similar to the European Middle Ages. The second is a story of today, a time of subverted ethics, fickle sensuality, and every kind of phenomena, even more like the Europe of today. A westerner would have to live four hundred years to experience the vast differences of the two eras, but a Chinese would only need forty years for the experience." Yu Hua's Brothers
, a sprawling, foul-mouthed, comic-historical epic, and the best-selling novel in China's history, is available in English. [more inside]
posted by escabeche
on Oct 18, 2009 -
, online since 2003, is a book blog of exceptional breadth and depth, and "an independent literature and culture publication that pays its writers." Until recently, that breadth and depth was hard to fathom, as the site had outgrown its infrastructure. Now, however, its excellent features
are easy to find, as are series like The Future of the Book
, Ask a Book Question
, and The Millions Interview
. Superb reviews can be found as they happen
or in the Book Review Index
, and, a vestige of when The Millions was a one man operation, you can find out what C. Max Magee, founder of The Millions, is reading on the Book Lists
page. [more inside]
posted by ocherdraco
on Aug 20, 2009 -
The murky demimonde of Amazon's Top Reviewers. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, but I had imagined Amazon's customer reviews as a refuge from the machinations of the publishing industry: "an intelligent and articulate conversation ... conducted by a group of disinterested, disembodied spirits..."
posted by farishta
on Jan 28, 2008 -
The Spaghetti Book Club
offers book reviews by kids for kids, searchable in a variety of ways. (And most of the reviews are also illustrated by the kid-authors!). One of my favorites
begins: "Do you like bad ideas or thinking about them? Well, if you like bad ideas then you should read The Book of Bad Ideas. The Book of Bad Ideas is a book that has bad ideas you really shouldn't try at home. If you try them you'll be soooorrrrryyyyy! If you want to learn more about it, I'll suggest a website but I don't know any. Maybe you should read the book.
posted by taz
on Mar 3, 2005 -