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Posts Tagged ‘Chuck Klosterman’

Defiance: A Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook

November 8, 2012 | by

Last week, the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn, was one of the areas shattered by superstorm Sandy. On Wednesday, November 14, join host Kurt Andersen; musicians Steve Earle and Stew; novelists Joseph O’Neill, Sam Lipsyte, and Rivka Galchen; nonfiction luminaries Phillip Lopate, Chuck Klosterman, Philip Gourevitch, Meghan O’Rourke, Deborah Baker, Robert Sullivan, and others for Defiance: A Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook. Readings will center on the themes of recovery and rebuilding, drawing on more than two centuries of literature about the historic neighborhood.

The event takes its name from Fort Defiance, the revolutionary-era citadel that once loomed over Red Hook, keeping ferry routes clear for General George Washington’s Continental Army. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the evening will be divided between two nonprofit organizations that are leading Red Hook’s post-Sandy recovery, Red Hook Initiative and Restore Red Hook. Learn more and buy tickets here.

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Staff Picks: ‘Desire,’ Tim Tebow

December 9, 2011 | by

Last night I read Sydney Smith’s attack on the Methodists and listened to Desire. It’s been that kind of week. —Lorin Stein

Chuck Klosterman offers one explanation for why Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow is so polarizing: “The crux here, the issue driving this whole ‘Tebow Thing,’ is the matter of faith ... The upside to secular thinking is that—in theory—your skepticism will prove correct. Your rightness might be emotionally unsatisfying, but it confirms a stable understanding of the universe. Sports fans who love statistics fall into this camp. People who reject cognitive dissonance build this camp and find the firewood. But Tebow wrecks all that, because he makes blind faith a viable option. His faith in God, his followers’ faith in him—it all defies modernity. This is why people care so much. He is making people wonder if they should try to believe things they don't actually believe.” —Natalie Jacoby

This weekend I’ll be hoping to see one of the more curious, and surely more fascinating, Nobel acceptance speeches as the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who lost his speech and the use of his right hand after a stroke some twenty years ago, accepts his prize by playing the piano. —Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn

The fruitcake from Holy Spirit Monastery in Georgia—rich with fruit and pecans and liberally doused in peach brandy—has converted many a fruitcake-scoffer. And if you know one of those defiant iconoclasts who already loves it, well, you’ve found your holiday gift for the foreseeable future. (Mine arrived last night and we’ve already eaten half!) —Sadie Stein

In her debut novel, The Faster I Walk The Smaller I Am, Kjersti A. Skomsvold has created a world—through the eyes of a terribly shy old woman who ponders death—that is calm and incredibly strange. —Jessica Calderon

I eagerly started reading a galley of Men in Space, Tom McCarthy’s first novel, which will be published in the US for the first time in February. The first hundred pages contains a very funny letter from a gay Netherlandish art curator on Václav Havel’s reinvention of Czech military costumes: “After two thousand years, Plato’s philosopher king becomes a reality—and the first thing he does is get some fag to spruce up his goons and make them march around more aesthetically. Sometimes I despair of our profession.” —Nicole Rudick

Emma Straub’s piece on the phenomenon of “showrooming” (a word I didn't even know!) was a revelation. —Sadie Stein

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On Acknowledgements

July 6, 2011 | by

Anyone who wants to study writers’ idiosyncrasies need look no further than their acknowledgments. One contemporary author thanks her therapist, another his probation officer, a third someone he calls the “Infamous Frankie G.” In the backs of books I’ve found shout-outs to the Ship Manager of HM Frigate Unicorn; a book on Satanism; and an ice hotel. But alongside the quirky is also the heartfelt. I’ve encountered declarations of love—“my children, my jewels”; “without you, I’d be sunk”; “not only the most supportive parents a writer could ask for but the most loving, kind, and inspiring people I know.” One set of thank-yous closes with the code IALYAAT, which I hope means, “I Always Love You At All Times.”

Acknowledgments also offer an all-too-rare view of the writer as actual human being. We often think we’re seeing the author’s real self when we read her fiction, but as any author who’s ever been asked what happened after she fled her family of international superspies and threw in her lot with a group of itinerant circus performers knows only too well, this is a delusion. The acknowledgments at the back of a novel are tantalizing because they’re often the only true thing amid a pack of lies. And at the end of a really great book, how wonderful to recognize that it was written not by a monolith or a beam of white light or the manifestation of the goddess Athena, but by a living, breathing person who remembered to thank her agent.

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