Thursday, October 23, 2014
Last week, the much anticipated movie "Birdman" opened in New York City. In it, Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a down-and-out actor who used to carry the superhero tentpole "Birdman" series. Thomson is looking to rebuild his career on Broadway by directing and starring in an adaptation of Raymond Carver's stark, gin-soaked short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. It's a last-ditch effort, and the dark nights of Thomson's soul are complicated both by a cast of insecure loons and the disembodied voice of his superhero alter ego.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Griffin Dunne's Kickstarter Project ,We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live, is a documentary about Dunne's aunt, author Joan Didion. Made with Joan, using Joan's words.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Don’t tell Sharon Anderson Wright that bookstores are a dying industry. The 56-year-old CEO of Half Price Books took a disorganized collection of stores co-founded by her mom—they started by selling used paperbacks and hardcovers out of a dingy former laundromat—and transformed the operation into a chain that is defying a seemingly inexorable tide. While bookstores are shuttered around the country and industry revenue has decreased an average of 3.2% a year over the past five years, Half Price Books is growing.
When David Foster Wallace hanged himself in 2008, at the age of 46, he was considered by many to be the most gifted and linguistically exuberant American novelist and short story writer of his generation. His books include the 1,000-page Infinite Jest, a novel of grand ambition and stylistic experiment that came complete with 388 endnotes.
Monday, October 20, 2014
``I was born into my mother's madness,'' observes Zoe Handke whose mother was physically and emotionally abusive to her. Zoe's father was not equipped to deal with the drama and her grandmother was ill and also the victim of her mother's rages so little Zoe was left without an advocate. At college in Minnesota, Zoe experiences episodes of hysterical blindness and deafness in reaction to the abuse. No motive is provided for her mother's mental illness but Zoe makes sense of the dysfunctional relationship by repetitively studying childhood events, reorganizing her past. Vignettes of her childhood are still, quiet and evocative. The last chapters of the book show the 40 year old Zoe righting herself, marrying and having children of her own.
Eric Larsen's prize-winning first novel, An American Memory, is about Malcolm Reiner, who married Zoe Handke. I'm going to seek it out.
The title story was received with immediate outrage by British Conservatives who accused Mantel of advocating assassination of political figures who evoke negative public opinion. But it is just a what if? fantasy, no reason to get knickers in a twist.
I'm not sure if these stories appeal specifically to women of a certain age but I devoured them and wanted more. I highly recommend this book.
UPDATE: Here is a clip from the audiobook that the publisher sent to me. It's the title story read by Jane Carr. Give it a listen.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
|illustration by Sarah Lutkenhaus|
"We wanted to come up with a list that was more than just a general reflection of a place, but rather paid attention to the specifics, even at the risk of the exclusion of the whole."Read about the choices at Brooklyn Magazine
Saturday, October 18, 2014
When a bad review of her first novel appeared online, Kathleen Hale was warned not to respond. But she soon found herself wading in. A fascinating read.
More: The Guardian
Famous for their artistry as much as for their innovation, these book jacket designers have all played their part in making the industry what it is today.
More: Culture Trip
|Cover by Chip Kidd (Pennsylvania, USA)|
|Cover by S. Neil Fujita (Japan and Hawaii, USA)|
More: Culture Trip
Friday, October 17, 2014
Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist cartoonist Art Spiegelman showed off his private library, artwork and a one-off Maus action figure to promote his current ‘WORDLESS!’ multimedia comics show.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The always fabulous Another Nickel In The Machine has posted a fascinating article about the British writer and philosopher, Colin Wilson. While writing The Outsider in the British Library by day he slept rough on Hampstead Heath at night.
On this day in 1956 he met Marilyn Monroe and according to Wilson there was a definite ‘connection’ with Marilyn and she actually grasped his hand as they made their way through the throng to their waiting cars.