brooklyn pop culture fanaticism

Flavorwire Author Club: Nora Ephron's Guide to Dealing With Heartbreak Through 'Heartburn'

I couldn’t really find a good pull quote from this because the whole profile is just incredibly good. Picking up a copy of Heartburn asap.

Tales of Two Cities - OR Books

Edited by JOHN FREEMAN

Illustrated by MOLLY CRABAPPLE

Published in association with HOUSING WORKS

With contributions from: GARNETTE CADOGAN, BILL CHENG, TEJU COLE, LYDIA DAVIS, JONATHAN DEE, JUNOT DIAZ, MARK DOTY, DAVE EGGERS, JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER, D.W. GIBSON, CHAASADAHYAH JACKSON, SARAH JAFFE, LAWRENCE JOSEPH, VICTOR LaVALLE, VALERIA LUISELLI, COLUM McCANN, DINAW MENGESTU, TÉA OBREHT, PATRICK RYAN, MICHAEL SALU, ROSIE SCHAAP, TAIYE SELASI, AKHIL SHARMA, ZADIE SMITH, JEANNE THORNTON, HANNAH TINTI, MARIA VENEGAS, and EDMUND WHITE

Lydia Davis piece excerpted at the link.

"For many of these women, the reading experience begins from a place of seething rage. Take Sara Marcus’ initial impression of Jack Kerouac: “I remember putting On the Road down the first time a woman was mentioned. I was just like: ‘Fuck. You.’ I was probably 15 or 16. And over the coming years I realized that it was this canonical work, so I tried to return to it, but every time I was just like, ‘Fuck you.’” Tortorici had a similarly visceral reaction to Charles Bukowski: “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Emily Witt turned to masculine texts to access a sexual language that was absent from books about women, but found herself turned off by their take: “many of the great classic coming-of-age novels about the female experience don’t openly discuss sex,” she says in No Regrets. “I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, ‘I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t. It was like a pile of Kleenex.”

This isn’t just about the books. When young women read the hyper-masculine literary canon—what Emily Gould calls the “midcentury misogynists,” staffed with the likes of Roth, Mailer, and Miller—their discomfort is punctuated by the knowledge that their male peers are reading these books, identifying with them, and acting out their perspectives and narratives. These writers are celebrated by the society that we live in, even the one who stabbed his wife. In No Regrets, Elif Bautman talks about reading Henry Miller for the first time because she had a “serious crush” on a guy who said his were “the best books ever,” and that guy’s real-life recommendation exacerbated her distaste for the fictional. When she read Miller, “I felt so alienated by the books, and then thinking about this guy, and it was so hot and summertime … I just wanted to kill myself. … He compared women to soup.”"

In No Regrets, women writers talk about what it was like to read literature’s “midcentury misogynists.” (via becauseiamawoman)

Here’s a fun thing you learn when you study literature: the western canon is not universally beloved. Those books are not the Truth any more than the New York Post is skilled journalism. The main reason they’re held in such high esteem is because they were written by boring white dudes with rage fantasies and boring white dudes with rage fantasies also happen to be largely in charge of deciding which books are deemed classics and taught forever in the American school system.
So if your boyfriend tells you he loves Kerouac then you tell your boyfriend Kerouac was a fucking second rate hack who wrote Beat style because he didn’t have the skill or talent to write any other way, which is probably also why he just copied every adolescent male wanderlust story since the beginning of time. That shit’s derivative and boring.

(via saintthecla)

(via relatedbydelusion)

whoops I didn’t mean that in all caps: the working-in-books story

"To tell the reporter that I’d never been ever clinically depressed might discredit the veracity of the emotional experience of the main character, but to tell her yes would be to feed into the idea that novelists are just a blink and a name away from their narrators. This is especially true of those who dare to write in first-person voice, and extra extra true, it seems to me, if you’re a woman — as if all we can birth is more of ourselves."

A Need to Disappear // Catherine Lacey

"If this woman is purely a victim, why is she so hated? And if she is truly harmless, why is she so threatening? Without question, it was a commentary on the social climate at the time, which still surprisingly applies today. But if sexism is one of the featured themes, why not say it?"

I’m Not a Tart: Leighton Meester on the Feminist Subtext of Of Mice and Men

"Most women, those who bear the brunt of these assessments, aren’t Beyoncé or Amy Poehler—who, not coincidentally, was on Junod’s list of newly un-tragic 42-year-olds. Instead, they are women who may not be able to pay for Pilates, let alone for day care or contraceptives, who may need but not be able to afford drug treatment, who Esquire would likely still rate as not-hot or more likely not rate at all, but whose fates nonetheless rest in the hands of empowered committees on the general value and status of womanhood in America"

"I Don’t Care If You Like It" // Rebecca Traister, New Republic

Writers Who Didn't Study Writing

“Where will it lead?” was the question J.K. Rowling’s parents had when she suggested studying English Literature. Without the power of divination, they couldn’t have known she would one day write the bestselling book series in history. “My parents wanted me to take a vocational course, or study ‘useful’ modern languages,” the Harry Potter author shares on her website. “So, I studied French—which was a mistake. I really should have stood my ground. On the plus side, studying French meant living in Paris for a year as part of my course.”

This evening in Brooklyn is really spectacular.