From the New York Times Book Review: In our dumbed-down, social-media-driven age, Against Everything embodies a return to the pleasures of critical diFrom the New York Times Book Review: In our dumbed-down, social-media-driven age, Against Everything embodies a return to the pleasures of critical discourse at its most cerebral and personable. . . Greif suggests it is possible to write about the culture with a reverence for language and passion for what has come before. I would read anything he writes, anywhere.
He's also the founder of n+1, which I never quite managed to get into, but this sounds pretty terrific?...more
Cardenas’s first novel has the trappings of a ravishing debut: smart blurbs, a brilliant cover, a modernist narrative set amongst political turmoil in South America, and a flurry of pre-pub excitement on Twitter. Having garnered comparisons to works by Roberto Bolaño and Julio Cortázar, The Revolutionaries Try Again has been called “fiercely subversive” while pulling off feats of “double-black-diamond high modernism.”...more
a coming-of-age tale set in 1970s Bushwick, where four girls discover the boundaries of their friendship when faced with the dark realities of growing up. As Tracy K. Smith lauds, “Another Brooklyn is heartbreaking and restorative, a gorgeous and generous paean to all we must leave behind on the path to becoming ourselves.” ...more
I tried to read Samedi but couldn't get into it -- I don't remember why. Here's this now, though, and it sounds cooooool. From the Millions' Great 201I tried to read Samedi but couldn't get into it -- I don't remember why. Here's this now, though, and it sounds cooooool. From the Millions' Great 2016 Book Preview:
Ball follows the trajectory of a brilliant teenager living an impoverished and increasingly precarious life in the absence of her parents. Her father is dead, her mother institutionalized, and when she discovers that there’s an arson club at her school, she finds herself rapidly running out of reasons not to set the world on fire....more
West Berlin in the years before the Wall came down — “that petri dish of romantic radicalism” — is the lushFrom the Millions' Great 2016 Book Preview:
West Berlin in the years before the Wall came down — “that petri dish of romantic radicalism” — is the lush backdrop for Pinckney’s second novel. It’s the story of Jed Goodfinch, a young gay black man who flees his stifling hometown of Chicago for Berlin, hoping to recapture the magic decadence of W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood’s Weimar era and, in the process, remake and discover himself. In Berlin, Jed is free to become “that person I so admired, the black American expatriate.” Kirkus praises the novel for embodying the “inventive, idiosyncratic styles” now flourishing in African-American writing....more
With its intense competition and rivalries, the ballet world provides a novelist with plenty of dramatic maFrom the Millions' Great 2016 Book Preview:
With its intense competition and rivalries, the ballet world provides a novelist with plenty of dramatic material. Girl Through Glass alternates between late-1970s New York, where its heroine works her way into George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet, and the present day, where she is a dance professor having an affair with a student. Exploring the exquisite precision of dancing alongside the unruliness of passion, Wilson’s novel looks to be on point....more
Hunt’s back with a modern gothic starring a scam-artist orphan who claims to talk to the dead; his sister wFrom the Millions' Great 2016 Book Preview:
Hunt’s back with a modern gothic starring a scam-artist orphan who claims to talk to the dead; his sister who ages into a strange, silent woman; and, later, her pregnant niece, who follows her aunt on a trek across New York without exactly knowing why. Also featured: meteorites, a runaway nun, a noseless man, and a healthy dash of humor. Hunt’s fantastical writing is already drawing favorable comparisons to Kelly Link and Aimee Bender, and her elegantly structured novel promises to be the year’s most unusual ghost story.
How did so many people get galleys of this and why didn't I?? There are 59 reviews here already, and this book comes out in June. Here's from FlavorwiHow did so many people get galleys of this and why didn't I?? There are 59 reviews here already, and this book comes out in June. Here's from Flavorwire's "50 Most Anticipated Books of 2016" list—and be sure to click through to that Vulture article, holy moly:
Another of the year’s seven-figure darlings, sure, but Cline’s is the most likely to deliver the literary goods. Amid the Manson-like story of 1960s murderous-cult entanglement is apparently a tender tale of female friendship, at least according to one editor who dropped out of the bidding war....more
Of the many, many books on this list set in the 1990s, no one does better than Wasserman’s Girls on Fire to inhabit the decade, with its Cobain occultism and fears of Satanism. It’s also a murder story and a morality tale about female friendship.
Also check out the early GR reviews -- seems like this is going to be the book of the summer....more
Here, apparently, is the story of a group of young ladies trying to make it in the publishing industry and have lots of fun in NYC — written in the 19Here, apparently, is the story of a group of young ladies trying to make it in the publishing industry and have lots of fun in NYC — written in the 1950s. Cool! Here's a Guardian piece on why this book is enjoying a new life today (hint: Mad Men). Neat!...more
From one of the genius booksellers at the marvelous Word Books:
There is a catastrophic event over San Francisco Bay. No one has taken the blame. In onFrom one of the genius booksellers at the marvelous Word Books:
There is a catastrophic event over San Francisco Bay. No one has taken the blame. In one of the most interesting styles I have ever read, Hrbek tells the story of a young man coming to terms with the loss of his sister and the strange world events happening all around him. For any post-apocalyptic fan this one really sparkles. It's one that takes us into the future to make us dwell on the present.
It is a beautiful awful toxic horrorshow; it's a Superfund site and a nightmarish breeding ground for a dense plethora of caHere is our Gowanus Canal:
It is a beautiful awful toxic horrorshow; it's a Superfund site and a nightmarish breeding ground for a dense plethora of carcinogens and diseases both known and unknown to mankind. On its banks sits a shiny new Whole Foods, a slew of high-end restaurants, and some of the most expensive real estate in the country. It's been the site of immersive art projects and a scrappy boat club, a jumping-off point (sometimes literally) for citizen science projects, and the final resting place for a handful of confused and lost sea creatures. It's a deeply, deeply fascinating place.
Here are a few facts about the Canal:
* It was once among the most trafficked bodies of water in the entire country, back when Brooklyn's banks were all major shipping channels and the borough served as an industrial powerhouse on the world stage. * Due to a century of illegal dumping and industrial slurry runoff, the bottom ten feet of the Canal is packed tight with what's called "black mayonnaise," which is every bit as repulsive as it sounds. * New York City runs on a "combined sewer system," which loosely means that while much of our poop is sent to treatment plants or flushed into the ocean (sorry, world!), the system is built, in cases of extremely high levels of sewage or extremely heavy rainfall, to flush its excess into—you guessed it—our surrounding small bodies of water, such as the Gowanus. Here is a picture of that happening; I hope you're not eating breakfast.
To be clear: that's raw, untreated sewage flowing into a body of water surrounded by residences, food storage warehouses, eating establishments, and the like.
Having lived in Brooklyn for 15 years, a lot of this I know firsthand, but many of these fun facts came directly from Joseph Alexiou, whom I have seen doing fascinating lectures about the Canal at the Brooklyn Brainery and the Brooklyn Historical Society. He's a thorough historian and a very engaging speaker, and I absolutely cannot wait to get his book in my hot little hands.
Perhaps I'll even read it on the banks of the Canal—although I'll bring a facemask and noseplug, just in case. ...more
I haven't heard of Kristin Hersh and I don't even really know if I've ever listened to Vic Chesnutt's music but holy hell, look at this review from LiI haven't heard of Kristin Hersh and I don't even really know if I've ever listened to Vic Chesnutt's music but holy hell, look at this review from LitHub's Great Bookseller Fall 2015 Preview:
This is an amazing memoir from the bestselling author of Rat Girl and founder of the band Throwing Muses. It paints a beautiful portrait of musician Vic Chesnutt, his unique friendship with the author, and the sorrowful broken darkness they each deal with. The language is warm, intimate and poetic; it’s like On the Road and Sylvia Plath had a baby. It’s so gorgeous it actually hurts to read. I have not been so moved by a piece of art, any art, in years. Even with the inevitable tragic ending, Hersh keeps you hanging on with her delicate and sublime prose. You know you are circling a vortex but the water is so perfect you don’t care. This story aches, laughs, stuns, and pulls you into it like a siren song. You will put it down and want more of both Chesnutt and Hersh, and feel all the more brokenhearted at the enormity of the loss.
Says Flavorwire in their 33 Must-Read Books for Fall 2015: Unlike anything in contemporary US fiction, The Story of My Teeth — as the unforgettable protagonist “Highway” explains — is composed of “hyperbolics, parabolics, circulars, allegorics, and elliptics.”
Stephen Sparks of Green Apple Books: The Story of My Teeth is a delightful and melancholy foray into the life of one Gustavo “Highway” Sánchez Sánchez, an auctioneer whose collection pushes the very boundaries of the believable. Luiselli, a darling of independent booksellers everywhere, is an exuberant writer and Sánchez is one of the singular literary creations of our time. I fucking love this book.
And Jeremy Ellis of Brazos Bookstore: The story of The Story of My Teeth fascinates me: an emerging writer collaborates anonymously with a group of juice factory workers to write a story about art, identity, and who can own either. Wonderful and strange, The Story of My Teeth transgresses against straightforward storytelling by witnessing and remixing to make something so fresh and new that it defies easy description. Just know that it dazzles on every page. I love this book....more
Pulitzer winner Jefferson’s personal history is — as she says about vigorous analyses of race, gender, and class prerogatives — as fundamental as “utensils and clothing.” This is to say that it’s one of the truly indispensable books of 2015....more
From Flavorwire's summer comics roundup: Homer’s Odyssey has been done a million times in a million different mediums, yet Fraction aSooooo prettttty.
From Flavorwire's summer comics roundup: Homer’s Odyssey has been done a million times in a million different mediums, yet Fraction and Ward’s take manages to come off as entirely original. It certainly helps that it’s now a gender-bent (Odyssia!), futuristic science-fiction epic. The ambitious series can be a touch confusing at times, but the stunning, trippy artwork keeps everything moving....more
From this awesome Flavorwire roundup of great comic series to read this summer: Easily one of the most exciting comic series in recent history, BitchFrom this awesome Flavorwire roundup of great comic series to read this summer: Easily one of the most exciting comic series in recent history, Bitch Planet is a modern, feminist take on the women-in-prison exploitation genre. The dystopian series is about “non-compliant” women who are sent to a space prison.