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Posts Tagged ‘Lena Dunham’

The Truth Keeps You Young

November 9, 2015 | by

Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club turns twenty.

Mary Karr. Photo © Deborah Feingold

The first time I met Mary Karr I was, quite frankly, stunned. She was not what I had expected, not that I knew what to expect. I had read all her books, was familiar with the basics of her biography—including any gossip I could find, which is scant in the literary world, even when it comes to best-selling and notoriously dynamic authors—and had even seen her author photo, so I am not sure what came as such a shock to me except for something I might nebulously refer to as her “essence.”

I was standing in the middle of a party, lost, anxious, and sweaty in a slew of people who would all qualify as name-drops among certain bookish weirdos, when I received a firm tap on the shoulder. I spun around to find a petite brunette smiling about six inches too close to my face, if you’re following traditional social protocols. “I’m Mary Karr and I love you, honey.” Read More »

“A Reverse Fahrenheit 451,” and Other News

February 11, 2013 | by





Arthurian Legend, Literary Restaurants

October 10, 2012 | by

  • Oxford’s Bodleian Library has put more than three hundred thousand rare books online.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s previously unseen two-hundred-page Arthurian epic poem, The Fall of Arthur, will be released next May. His son has acted as editor.
  • As I Chipotle Dying: the #literaryrestaurants hash tag sweeps Twitter.
  • Lena Dunham’s purported $3.5 million sale prompts a list of outrageous book deals.
  • Lolita, then, is undeniably news in the world of books. Unfortunately, it is bad news. There are two equally serious reasons why it isn’t worth any adult reader’s attention. The first is that it is dull, dull, dull in a pretentious, florid and archly fatuous fashion. The second is that it is repulsive.” The New York Times’s pan: just one of the bad reviews received by classics.




    Sheila Heti on How Should a Person Be?

    June 18, 2012 | by

    Photograph by Sylvia Plachy.

    If you’ve been loving Lena Dunham’s Girls, you should most certainly pick up a copy of Sheila Heti’s new novel, How Should a Person Be? In it, fictional Sheila struggles to answer the titular question through conversations with her friends (including Margaux, Misha, and Sholem), blowjobs, impulsive trips to Atlantic City and ... a whole lot more. The novel is a blend of the real and the imaginary—and somehow, in the process of recording her life, real Sheila blends into fictional Sheila, creating a work of metafiction that is playful, funny, wretched, and absolutely true. Sheila and I Gchatted not long ago. Sheila is an impressive writer (see her full bio here) as well as the interviews editor at The Believer. Below is an edited version of our conversation.

    Let’s talk about your process. How did you take your conversations from your life and weave it into fiction?

    I don’t know. I did lots of different things. But the conversations were not meant for a book. I was just taping friends. I didn’t have a plan for where I was going.

    Did you think you were writing your play?

    I wasn’t sure. I’d spent the previous five years working on Ticknor, and I wanted to sort of shake that off me. So all the transcribing I was doing was kind of like drinking a glass of water—it was refreshing, like a palate cleanser—a way of getting out of my imagination. Taping and transcribing was part of looking around to see what things were really like in my environment. I’d been completely in my room, in my head, not looking at anything.

    That reminds me of something Tilda Swinton once said about filmmaking—it’s a social way of making art. What do you think happens when you’re working like this?

    Well, the writing becomes more like life in that you don’t know where you’re going to end up, and you don’t know what’s going to end up being important. It’s like how in life you can meet somebody and not think much of them, then a few years later you’re married and in love, but the person you were really drawn to and thought, This is it!—you forget about them six months later. When I began transcribing, I was certain that I wanted to write a book with no people in it, about the workings of a supermarket.

    That sounds so different than the book you ended up writing!

    Read More »


    Good-bye Doris Betts, Remembering Guy Davenport

    April 26, 2012 | by

  • RIP Doris Betts.
  • Our very own Southern editor, John Jeremiah Sullivan, on Guy Davenport, on the Rumpus.
  • The case of Lena Dunham’s literary internship.
  • Things you (maybe) didn’t know about E. B. White.
  • Quoth the Globe and Mail, “A Prince Rupert elementary teacher has been told a quote from Dr. Seuss’ ‘Yertle the Turtle’ is a political statement that should not be displayed or worn on clothing in her classroom. The teacher included the quote in material she brought to a meeting with management after she received a notice relating to union material visible in her car on school property … The quote in question—“I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights”—comes from … the tale of a turtle who climbs on the backs of other turtles to get a better view. In the midst of a labor dispute between the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation and the province, the quote was deemed unsuitable.”

    Corrections and Test Questions: Happy Monday

    April 23, 2012 | by