"In that season when we pause, take a breath, remember those long-ago holidays (and those lost times, friends, and places), and get ready for what the New Year may bring — what better time to take stock and ask ourselves the big question: How should I live, so as to do my best here, and leave easily? Ho, ho, ho indeed."
—George Saunders, author of Tenth of December, on what he’s giving this holiday season
ISSUE 83: Long Way Home :: Oxford American -
Rosanne Cash’s beautiful essay about her roots in Tennessee.
Three Weeks Before Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, There Was Dorothy Parker's. Coincidence? -
Mrs. Parker and the butterfly effect.
"By 1955, the writing careers of Vladimir Nabokov and Dorothy Parker were headed in opposite directions. Parker’s was in a deep slump. The New Yorker—a magazine she had been instrumental in founding—had not published her fiction in fourteen years. Nabokov, by contrast, was becoming a literary sensation. The New Yorker had published several of his short stories as well as chapters of his autobiography Conclusive Evidence and of his novel Pnin. His next novel, Lolita, would bring him worldwide recognition for its virtuosic prose and the shocking story of a middle-aged man’s relationship with his pubescent stepdaughter and her aggressive mother. It was a manuscript that Nabokov circulated very little because he feared the controversy that would erupt when it was published.
Yet three weeks before Lolita arrived in bookstores in France, where it first came out that September, Parker published a story—in The New Yorker, of all places—titled “Lolita,” and it centered on an older man, a teen bride, and her jealous mother. How could this have come to pass?”
Bob Dylan "Like A Rolling Stone" - Official Interactive Video! -
Revolutionary technology sparks first official video for Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone”
THIS IS GENIUS. (But you have to watch it on a computer, so you can change the channels.) Have I mentioned lately how much I love Dylan?
I think the idea of closure, while comforting, is in many ways artificial, especially when grieving a suicide. Closure implies an end, but who stops grieving a lost loved one and when? — Matt Rasmussen, #nbawards Poetry Finalist and author of the poetry collection, “Black Aperture.” Read his full interview here. (via nationalbook)
36th Annual Authors’ Night at the National Press Club in Washington. Politics & Prose has signed copies of YOU ARE ONE OF THEM in stock. Even if you don’t live in D.C., you can order them online. Holiday gifts, perhaps?
What Does Cancer Smell Like? -
Why scientists are putting stock in an electronic nose.
A Cold War Fought by Women -
New evidence shows that female aggression helps explain peer pressure to meet standards of physical appearance and sexual conduct.
"Other studies have shown that the more attractive an adolescent girl or woman is, the more likely she is to become a target for indirect aggression from her female peers.”
Paris Review - Curated by Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers -
The Paris Review is a literary magazine featuring original writing, art, and in-depth interviews with famous writers.
The National Book Award ceremony is tomorrow. I loved George Saunders’s Tenth of December (especially the stunning story called “The Semplica-Girl Diaries”) but I’m still rooting for Rachel Kushner. The Flamethrowers (so kinetic!) is my favorite novel of the year.
Imagining that reality—in which everybody (except me) becomes a corpse—presents no difficulties whatsoever. Like most people in New York City, I daily expect to find myself walking the West Side Highway with nothing but a shopping cart stacked with bottled water, a flashlight, and a dead loved one on my back, seeking a suitable site for burial. The postapocalyptic scenario—the future in which everyone’s a corpse (except you)—must be, at this point, one of the most thoroughly imagined fictions of the age. —
It takes a certain skill to link Taipei by Tao Lin, My Struggle Part I and Part II by Karl Ove Knausgaard and an old book on Italian painting in a single essay, but Zadie Smith is (naturally) the writer for the job. In a new piece for The NY Review of Books, she asks the reader to “imagine [a drawing of a corpse] represents an absolute certainty about you, namely, that you will one day be a corpse.” (via millionsmillions)
Zadie Smith is insanely smart. Man, I love this essay.