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Posts Tagged ‘James Wood’

What We’re Loving: Stridentists, Oblivion

August 31, 2012 | by

Of the first volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s long, uneventful bildungsroman, My Struggle, James Wood wrote, “Even when I was bored, I was interested.” Wood is a man who knows how to pay attention to long, boring books, even at times enjoys them, so I began My Struggle with trepidation; it was misplaced. The book kept me up till two almost every morning for a week. All the good things Wood says about the novel seem to me true; but I loved it even when the narrator slipped into clichés, because they made him seem that much more real and singleminded in his storytelling. I don’t read Norwegian, but it’s hard to believe that the translator, Don Bartlett, could have made such vital, humane prose—over such a long stretch—unless he was hewing close to a work of genius. —Lorin Stein

“Here’s my brutal / many-minded / poem / to the new city,” are the first words of Manuel Maples Arce’s “City: Bolshevik Super-Poem in 5 Cantos.” The poem was first published in Mexico City in 1924, and the subtitle isn’t entirely ironic. Another stanza begins, “Russia’s lungs / blow the wind / of social revolution / in our direction. / Literary dick gropers / will understand nothing.” I first read about Arce in Savage Detectives, where he is one of the deities in Bolaño’s pantheon of the Latin American avant-garde, identified as “the father of stridentism.” I thought this was a made-up group, but it really existed (that’s them, in the photo). They gathered in a café called Multánime (“many-minded”), where a contemporary reports that “the waiters placed their order via radio and the Pianola played music from intercepted Martian concerts.” —Robyn Creswell

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What We’re Loving: Voyeurs, A Trip to the Moon

August 24, 2012 | by

Have you ever had one of those days where it’s best, for everybody, that you stay in your room and turn off your phone and promise never to talk to anyone ever again? Gabrielle Bell understands. Her autobiographical comic strip The Voyeurs just rescued one such Thursday night for me. Bell makes social awkwardness verging on phobia look cool, or at least perfectly rational, and even at her most despondent, her pen notices what’s going on outside the window or in a friend’s facial expression—and as often as not, it’s funny and endearing, even beautiful. For an artist who skewers her own fecklesness and self-pity, Bell spends a lot of time secretly celebrating the world. —Lorin Stein

As my friends know, I have long held a somewhat irrational prejudice against all shades of purple, and when pressed, have only ever been able to come up with vague allusions to wizards and Lisa Frank. Imagine my glee, then, when, in a Q & A with The New York Times Magazine, Monocle editor and full-time jet-setter Tyler Brûlé declared the following:

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John Jeremiah Sullivan Tonight at The Half King!

December 14, 2011 | by

Photograph by John Taylor.

Come listen to John Jeremiah Sullivan read tonight at an event hosted by The New York Times Magazine! We can’t promise James Wood on bongos, but there may be music from Michael Jackson, Axl Rose, Bunny Wailer, or Geeshie Wiley, and there’s sure to be lots of good bourbon-drinking.

John Jeremiah Sullivan
At The Half King
Tonight: Wednesday, December 14
7:00 P.M.
505 West 23rd St
New York, NY 10011

 

 

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Come Celebrate Our Fall Issue

September 9, 2011 | by

A reminder that we hope to see you all tomorrow night at Fontana’s Bar for our Fall Issue launch. The party will start at 8:15 P.M.: advance copies of the issue, live music from the Dog House Band, and all of us decked out in our finest. Don’t miss it.

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Join Us This Saturday on the NYC Lit Crawl!

September 8, 2011 | by

Saturday, September 10, brings us the extravaganza that is the fourth annual NYC Lit Crawl. We’ll be there, with our dancing shoes on! Join us as we unveil our fall issue to the rock and country stylings of the Dog House Band—featuring Sven Birkerts, David Gates, Wyatt Mason, and James “Sin Killer” Wood, among others. The new mag will be hot off the presses: Lydia Davis on translation, Dennis Cooper and Nicholson Baker on writing dirty books, Terry Castle’s stash of anonymous kiddie photos, and more.

When: Saturday, September 10; the band plays from 8:15–9:45 P.M.; drinks till ??.

Where: Fontana’s Bar (21+)
105 Eldridge Street
New York, NY 10002

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Books for the Well-Read; Narratology

September 24, 2010 | by

My ex-boyfriend’s birthday is fast approaching. He’s not just any ex—he’s The Ex, the one responsible for approximately ninety percent of my current taste in books, film, and music. We’re still friends, and I want to buy him a book, but I’m stuck. What do you buy for the man who's read everything, and introduced you to all the authors you love? —Joelle D.

Come with a backup. My friend Jennifer and I tend to like the same books, but she has read much, much more than I have. So a few years ago, when I gave her Henry Green’s novel Loving, I kept stashed away (already wrapped up) J. R. Ackerley’s memoir My Father and Myself. She'd read both, as it turned out ... but claimed that she had been “meaning to reread Ackerley for years.” It was such a nice lie. I hope your ex would say the same were he in her shoes. He sounds lucky to have you!

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