Carousel #8

(A somewhat late carousel. I found a lot of things last week, but I just forgot to keep track of some of them. Sorry!)

  1. No Pulitzer Prize was given out for the Fiction category this year. It was quite hilarious to see the deluge of sarcastic and infuriated comments by writers about the Pulitzer committee on Twitter. But here’s Ann Patchett’s much more reasonable reaction to it.
  2. I like this post about pseudonyms and writers’ identities, especially as someone with a half-pseudonym kind of thing going on.
  3. Speaking of pseudonyms, a writer who goes by the internet name of xTx has a really great story in The Collagist (which is probably my new favorite online lit journal, by the way).
  4. My sister has been pressuring me into reading The Hunger Games for a while and I caved. I’ve just finished the first book of the series and I’m beginning to read the second. At first, I wasn’t sure whether it would be something I would enjoy, but I have – more than I expected to, anyway. There’s also this great personal essay by Roxane Gay that helped to persuade me as well.
  5. This story by David Foster Wallace is very chilling. I think it will stay with me for a while.

Carousel #7

  1. Mark Z. Danielewski, author of House of Leaveswrites a letter to a girl from OKCupid and it’s pretty hilarious.
  2. I came across a really fantastic blog called The Book Cover Club, where people read books and then design new covers for them. Check it out!
  3. I’ve always been a fan of surreal art. Here’s A Cadeira Alta, by Brazilian artist Marcel Caram.
  4. The details about J.K. Rowling’s newest novel were recently revealed. She has written an adult murder mystery, which is what people were speculating. It’s called The Casual Vacancy and it will be released on September 27th of this year.
  5. I found a generator that emails you rejections. It supposedly prepares you for the impending pain of failure. I’m sure I’ll be making proper use of it soon.
  6. Lately, there have been a lot of creative projects popping up all over the place via Kickstarter, plenty of them book-related. I really wish I could support them all! One of them that drew my attention in particular was Wollstonecraft, a charming series of children books about Ada Lovelace and Mary Shelley, dedicated to teaching young girls about history and writers and giving them positive real-life role models.
  7. This week, a post of mine went up over on ReadLearnWrite. It’s about growing up as a boy who really didn’t read on his own until much later than you would think. It’s also about getting other less enthusiastic people into books (including my own family).

Carousel #6

  1. Apparently, there’s been some book banning going on in Arizona in regards to the Mexican-American immigrant experience. I’m still regularly shocked and appalled by the racism and censorship that is allowed in this country.
  2. A graphic novel adaptation of the classic children’s book A Wrinkle in Time is coming out this year. Check out the cover.
  3. I read a story about a father’s struggle with his little daughter’s cancer. It follows the family’s grieving process and how they cope with her illness. Utterly brutal and sad, but also deeply beautiful.
  4. I found a new place to get books: The Book Depository! Free international shipping, and their prices are actually pretty good too. Excellent.
  5. I discovered The Safety Pin Review, a relatively new literary journal that features 30-word fiction and shows it off on the back of shirts around town by the journal’s “operatives.” Love it. Now if only I can teach myself to write fiction in thirty words or less.
  6. I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to Catgroove over a hundred times throughout this week. I’m also pretty sure electroswing is my new favorite thing. Parov Stelar is amazing. All of his music is going on my MP3 player as soon as possible.

Carousel #5

  1. All I really want for my birthday this year is Scrivener. Sounds absolutely perfect.
  2. Have some chiptunes I came across. Music made with a GameBoy, for those not in the know.
  3. Here’s an interesting article about Tumblr as the modern commonplace book. I’ve never kept one of my own, although I suppose this blog has become a sort with the inclusion of these carousels.
  4. I recently discovered the fantastic Dear Sugar advice column. Anonymous questions (often difficult, sometimes quite strange) are sent in and eloquently answered by the always compassionate, level-headed Sugar (who recently revealed herself as the author Cheryl Strayed, by the way).
  5. While the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games enjoying a huge success at the box office wasn’t all too surprising, it was surprising to see how some fans reacted to some of the characters being portrayed as black. I haven’t read the books myself, but the response is quite shocking to say the least. On the heels of this whole debacle, here’s Toni Morrison discussing racism.
  6. Aaron Burch, the fantastic editor over at Hobart, wrote a eulogy for the closing of a bookstore he used to work at. Sad to see all these bookstores go.
  7. Something I’ve noticed when it comes to fiction novels these days: there are a ton of books out there with the titles “The _____’s Daughter,” or “The _____’s Wife.” Apparently though, I’m not the only one who has picked up on this. Maybe the titles have a nice cadence, and maybe people do pick them up because they’re familiar, but I think it’s about time we retire them.
  8. Flannery O’Connor is one of my favorite short story writers, and it was her birthday last week. A big volume of her complete works sits on my shelf. Lacy Marschalk, a writer and a teacher, recounts her visit to Ms. O’Connor’s house in Georgia and the farm. Plus peacocks!
  9. This week, poet Adrienne Rich passed away. She was one of my favorite poets as an undergrad. Read and listen to her poem “Diving into the Wreck.”

Carousel #4

  1. I came across the story of Joyce Carol Vincent, a 38-year-old woman from London who died alone at home and whose skeleton wasn’t discovered until three years later. It’s horrible to think how this could possibly happen, and probably happens a lot more than we think. I think the most awful part for me is the fact that she was wrapping Christmas gifts when she died – it’s clear that she cared for some people in her life enough and thought they cared for her, but  how mistaken she was in the latter.
  2. An online acquaintance of mine, Swankivy, made a video about frequent grammatical mistakes sometimes even writers and well-read people can make. Check it out – you may be surprised by what you didn’t know.
  3. I discovered the fantastic slice-of-life full-color comics of Melinda Boyce. So lovely and charming. She first drew my attention when she did a drawing of Anaïs. She also has a Kickstarter project where you can get copies of her comics.
  4. Aubrey Plaza, an actress several friends of mine have fallen in love with, is now working on a young adult novel. My sister and I only really know her as Julie from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I wonder if her characteristic snarkiness will be a part of that high school experience she describes. I know it was a part of mine!
  5. Writer Edan Lepucki is starting a new column for The Millions in which she will be answering letters from writers. She’s asking people to send in questions. Seems pretty useful!
  6. Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison spoke about how her life isn’t interesting enough for a memoir. Kind of shocked, since I’m sure anything she writes would be worth reading, regardless. Always inspiring.
  7. I came across this article on how people’s brains are stimulated by reading good fiction. Among the observations made are: how reading affects multiple, critical areas of the brain, how vivid imagery and metaphors stimulate the sensory cortexes (and not cliches), and how reading novels is an excellent way to improve one’s empathy and understanding of the world. I’m not entirely surprised by any of these results, but it’s always nice to have scientific evidence for support.