I’m a dork. Even worse, I’m a Facebook dork. And who can I tell but you, dear reader, that I’ve recently become one-FaceBook-friend-removed from James Frey.
I know. Who cares, right? But hey, this guy got literary tongues a waggin’ and for more than a blink too. Is he a big fat liar? When will his name cease to be mentioned in the same sentence as the word, “liar”? Dunno. Don’t care. This guy got people to R-E-A-D and talk about books again andhe writes about Los Angeles in his new novel. Love ya, buddy.
My fabulous mentor and long-time writing instructor, Jim Krusoe, has just given us a new story to devour. Girl Factory is now available via Tin House and promises to be a fanciful, fun-filled ride because that’s just the kind of guy he is. I’m forever grateful to Jim as he’s the main instigator (or perpetrator, depending upon your view) of this.
Also catch his interview with my secret crush, Michael Silverblatt, on KCRW’s Bookworm.
“A yogurt parlor in a corner mall somewhere in the city of St. Nils contains a dark secret in its basement, and Jonathan, the mostly clueless clerk who works there, just wants to fix things once and for all. But, beginning with an early encounter in an animal shelter that leaves three dead, things don’t always work out the way they ought to. Or do they? Filled with memorable characters, including two dogs (one too smart for his own good) and a retired sea captain, this unsettling darkly comic novel is an exploration of memory, desire, and the nature of storytelling. More disturbingly, Girl Factory raises questions about the ubiquitous objectification of women, the possibility for change, and the nature of freedom.“ –from Tin House
Recently, the always-insightful Michael Silverblatt interviewed Pulitzer-winner Geraldine Brooks, author of a new work of fiction, People of the Book.
They discussed the possible prevention of great cultural loss in the future as has been in the past. I wanted to transcribe this for you, as I find it to be most eloquent:
I think it comes down to whether or not we can bring people to appreciate that what unites us is greater than what divides us.
We don’t have a really good track record over the centuries. We make these wonderful multicultural societies from time to time and when we make them, they turn out to be the prosperous ones and the creative ones and they’re the ones that move the ball forward with human knowledge.
But then we have this fear of otherness that comes up and smashes them over and over again and then you’re left with something harrowed and sterile and monocultural. Just as monocultures aren’t healthy for agriculture they’re not so healthy for human culture either.
Now I’ve done it. I’ve cracked the covers on the new translation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, one of the most daunting books there ever could be. I’ve slogged through the long-winded Russian before so I was prepared for this mountain to be climbed. I have to say, translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (with the help of a snazzy jacket) make this new edition much easier going than I’d presumed. It’s a thick one but this version of the mother (or father?) of all Russian literature promises to be more of a pleasure than a grin.
All you brave, punishment-loving souls out there, check it out at Amazon:
Although there are many more “famous authors” in history (and today) than those in the series, these DVDs may be just the thing for a quick tour through the lives of your personal literary greats. Or perhaps you have teenagers who are suffering through a term paper and can’t stand the thought of reading any research info that doesn’t begin with the letters W-I-K-I. Check them out on Amazon.com.
Director Malcolm Hossick profiles such (dead, white, Western) literary greats as: