The young Talese wanted to be American, not Italian, so he resented the Verdi and Puccini, this soundtrack to the boyhood he didn’t want to have. [more inside]
In the wake of so many recent controversies over women and their right to safe, affordable health care and the supposed desire of working women to be "put in their place" by aggressive men in the bedroom, Penny Red suggests that "Right now, we are in the middle of a sexual counter-revolution." [more inside]
"I can’t imagine a nonfiction writer who wasn’t influenced by the fiction he or she had read. But the “thriller-like pacing” you find in my writing may come more from my own beat than from thrillers. I walk fast and am impatient. I get bored easily—no less with my own ideas than with those of others. Writing for me is a process of constantly throwing out stuff that doesn’t seem interesting enough. I grew up in a family of big interrupters." Janet Malcolm interviewed by Katie Roiphe in The Paris Review.
My Baby Is Like a Narcotic. Reflections on the "opium den" of new parenthood by New York University professor, author and journalist Katie Roiphe.
Get Your Kid Off Your Facebook Page by Katie Roiphe You click on a friend's name and what comes into focus is not a photograph of her face, but a sleeping blond four-year-old, or a sun-hatted baby running on the beach. Here, harmlessly embedded in one of our favorite methods of procrastination, is a potent symbol for the new century. Where have all of these women gone? What, some future historian may very well ask, do all of these babies on our Facebook pages say about the construction of women’s identity at this particular moment in time?
Is Maureen Dowd necessary? Asks Katie Rolph (Slate). I'm not sure... but from a big article in the NY Times Magazine section last Sunday, to a spread in New York Magazine this week, all to support her new book release, she sure as hell seems to be everywhere these days. Rolph sums up Dowd pretty nicely, though:
... Dowd is extremely fond of clever stereotyping. But this strategy is better-suited to satirizing a real person (say, President Bush) than it is to offering insights into the already cartoonish "war" between the sexes. In Are Men Necessary? she gravitates toward quotes like this: "Deep down all men want the same thing: a virgin in a gingham dress," or "if there's one thing men fear it's a woman who uses her critical faculties..."Her shallow insights are sometimes amusing in the context of 250 word op-ed, but a whole book, press junket and PR tour? The woman who suggests that oedipal conflict is at the root of current US foreign policy speaks out on feminism and culture, and we're supposed to care? Strangely enough, I do. I must be hypnotized by the red hair.
Is It Fiction If It Says "Fiction" On The Cover? Jorge Luis Borges brilliantly obscured fact and fiction presenting fiction as fact. Things seem to have swung round 180º and fact is now increasingly being sold as fiction. This certainly seems to be the case with Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved. She's Paul Auster's second wife and... Well... now even critics, like The New York Observer's Joe Hagan have joined the fun, as Slate's Katie Roiphe duly noted. Fact is now presented as fiction, without the traditional disguise of the roman à clef. I think it's sad. In fact, it's an attempt on the life of imagination itself. Perhaps these authors who write memoirs masquerading as novels could be sued under the Trade Description Act? [With thanks to the always excellent Literary Salon weblog. Thanks to ColdChef for pointing it out to me.]