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 -
In February 1963
, a new publication
took advantage of the New York City printers strike and launched with a daring editorial
: It does not, however, seek merely to fill the gap created by the printers’ strike in New York City but to take the opportunity which the strike has presented to publish the sort of literary journal which the editors and contributors feel is needed in America.
The New York Review of Books
is now 50
. [more inside]
posted by mattbucher
on Oct 21, 2013 -
Great artists rise early
, stay up late
, float themselves in coffee
, flirt with amphetamines
, drink carefully
, eat if necessary
, take morning walks
followed by afternoon naps
, amuse themselves
, avoid their friends
, hold down jobs
, indulge their oddities
, and work
— work like draft horses
. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on May 6, 2013 -
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 -
"To really love Joan Didion—to have been blown over by things like the smell of jasmine and the packing list she kept by her suitcase—you have to be female. … Women who encountered Joan Didion when they were young received from her a way of being female and being writers that no one else could give them. She was our Hunter Thompson, and Slouching Towards Bethlehem
was our Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
. He gave the boys twisted pig-fuckers and quarts of tequila; she gave us quiet days in Malibu and flowers in our hair. … Ultimately Joan Didion’s crime
—artistic and personal—is the one of which all of us will eventually be convicted: she got old. Her writing got old, her perspective got old, her bag of tricks didn’t work anymore."
posted by Houyhnhnm
on Jan 11, 2012 -
Have your Chipotle burrito at John Dos Passos
' house. Read Silent Spring
in Silver Spring
. You can now take a real or virtual walking tour of literary DC, from Roald Dahl
to Philip K. Dick
to Zora Neale Hurston
. Two DC-area poets have put together a compendium of 123 (and growing) residences in the DC area where novelists, poets, and playwrights plied their trade. The buildings may not all have plaques, but they are still standing: Dan Vera and Kim Roberts focused on
not "documenting what used to be here, but what people could actually go and take a look at."
posted by HonoriaGlossop
on Dec 18, 2011 -
In How to Write a Great Novel
authors such as Edwidge Danticat, Hilary Mantel, Orhan Pamuk, Junot Díaz and Margaret Atwood speak about their writing process. If you want your thoughts on writing in a longer format, you could do a lot worse than The New York Times' Writers on Writing
series, which features short essays by, for example, Kurt Vonnegut
, Saul Bellow
, Louise Erdrich
and Annie Proulx
. Should you thirst for meditations longer yet, Barbara Demarco-Barrett
has on her Writers on Writing
radio show interviewed a boatload of authors
and it is available as a podcast [iTunes link]
posted by Kattullus
on Nov 11, 2009 -
"An internet resource for those interested in historical and literary diaries and diarists." Information pages on over five hundred diarists are included.
posted by jayder
on Jan 12, 2008 -
Flaubert on Structural Unity.
"I’ve just read 'Pickwick' by Dickens. Do you know it? Some bits are magnificent; but what a defective structure! All English writers are like that. Walter Scott apart, they lack composition. This is intolerable for us Latins". Extracts from the letters of Flaubert (via the very awesome book coolie)
posted by matteo
on Jul 29, 2005 -
Mythmaker of the Machine Age.
In the statue erected above his grave in Amiens, in Picardy, Jules Verne
, who died exactly 100 years ago, resembles God. He is, after all, the second-most-translated author on earth
, after Agatha Christie. To celebrate the anniversary
, there's a Verne exhibition at the Maritime Museum in Paris
, one of a series of events from Paris to the western city of Nantes
, where Verne was born on Feb. 8, 1828, to the northern town of Amiens, where he died on March 24, 1905
. His many fans, some of them quite famous
, will be treated to exhibits, concerts, films and shows in Verne's honor. “Underground City
”, a lost classic written by Verne and never before published unabridged in English, emerges this month
in not one but two new unique editions.
100 years later, questions remain about his life
: Why did he have two homes in Amiens? Why did he burn all his private papers? Why was he shot in the foot by his nephew, Gaston, in 1886? Gaston was locked in an asylum for 54 years after his attack on L'Oncle Jules. Was Gaston, in fact, Verne's natural son? More inside.
posted by matteo
on Mar 23, 2005 -
The DNA of Litrature.
Between now and next July, The Paris Review will be putting all of its writers-at-work interviews online, starting with those from the 1950s, which include William Faulkner, Truman Capote and Dorothy Parker. Good stuff.
posted by liam
on Nov 15, 2004 -
(the author of such brawny reads as Choke
and Fight Club
) has an online writers' workshop
that has monthly assignments subject to peer review, essays on writing by Chucky P., and a real smoove interface. I'm not a big fan of the guy or his work, but his "distinction essays", which are only posted to the site for a limited time, do contain the kind of solid instruction you'd hafta pay money for at a real writers workshop. The quality of the submissions varies, but seems to me to be a bit better than most online freebie writers-circle-jerk sites. Just don't choke on the ego.
posted by BitterOldPunk
on Mar 30, 2004 -
An Exercise in Identity
A group of writers seeks to collaborate under a single pseudonym, not for fear of scorn or ridicule, but presumably because they think it makes for better business. Do readers have a right to know who a work's author really is, or can identity just be another aspect of the fictional work? (via Kuro5hin queue)
posted by Erasmus
on Dec 19, 2002 -
The brouhaha that erupted in Britain
last month when it was learned that the prestigious Booker Prize might be opened to American writers by 2004, displays a British inferiority complex and underscores the remarkable persistence of preconceptions that Britain and the United States hold about each other. But it's about ideas and styles and even language being swapped and appropriated across the globe. It's about artists picking from a smorgasbord of techniques and influences to try to get a handle on an increasingly fragmented and cacophonous reality, and in doing so creating a new wave of writing that is richer for its multicultural mingling of styles and voices, its voracious mixing of the high and low, the cerebral and street-smart, the old and the new. Just like in MeFi.
posted by semmi
on Jun 14, 2002 -
may be one of the best novelists working today, yet not that many folks know his name. His books
and short stories
portray prosaic suburbia accurately and without condescension, and he has uncanny insight into the mind of the terminally adolescent. Not to mention an uproarious sense of humor. If the films of Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater, the music of Weezer, or Pete Bagge's
comics resonate with you, you may want to check out their literary equivalent. As an added treat, here's an audio
link of Perrota reading his work. For my money, this guy is one of our best American writers right now, although you wouldn't know it.
posted by jonmc
on Mar 2, 2002 -
Monday is the last day to declare your intention to write a 50,000-word novel during National Novel Writing Month
(Nov. 1-30). "Dubious fiction writers from all nations are invited to participate," says organizer Chris Baty. So far, around 3,000 writers have pledged to bring 150 million new words into the world.
posted by rcade
on Oct 28, 2001 -