Author Archives: Mike

Did You Hear? Summer Friends

Chance the Rapper jumped onto the scene earlier this year by dropping the best verse on the best song of Kanye West’s latest release The Life of Pablo. That performance was the intro, as Chance says on the opening track of his new album (or mixtape… I think I’m too old to know the difference) Coloring Book.

The best track on Coloring Book might be “Summer Friends,” a soft-and-sweet trap beat (I think) that Chance bounces along on accompanied by someone who sounds exactly like Justin Vernon but apparently isn’t. At first listen, “Summer Friends” feels like a nostalgic look back at early days — “79th street was America then / Ice cream truck and the beauty supply / Blockbuster movies and Harold’s again” — and something good to have with you now that the weather is finally hot. But it’s all a set up for this: Continue reading

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Authors Against Authoritarian A-holes

They’ve imagined nightmare-inducing horror stories, near-future dystopias, and untold misery caused by everything from childhood to marriage. But when it comes to Donald Trump, some of our favorite authors draw the line. According to the New York Times, more than 400 writers have signed a petition protesting his candidacy:

A group of more than 400 writers, including big names such as Stephen King, David Eggers, Amy Tan, Junot Díaz and Cheryl Strayed, released an online petition on Tuesday to express their opposition to Mr. Trump’s candidacy on the grounds that he is appealing to the darkest elements in American society.

“The rise of a political candidate who deliberately appeals to the basest and most violent elements in society, who encourages aggression among his followers, shouts down opponents, intimidates dissenters, and denigrates women and minorities, demands, from each of us, an immediate and forceful response,” they wrote.

Of course, that was yesterday. The number is now closer to 8,000 signaturesContinue reading

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Filed under Fiction Advocate of the Day, Hooray Fiction!

Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way

Rhodes Office

When he was working on his MFA in creative writing, Ben Rhodes used to write Frederick Barthelme knock-off fiction. In the tiny office where he works today — almost 15 years after leaving the program — he has shelves of books and binders, a picture of his daughter, some reminders of his favorite baseball team. When asked, he says his life could fit the mold of a Don DeLillo novel. His colleagues compare him to Holden Caulfield.

This is all familiar territory for anyone who has, or knows someone with, a creative writing degree. Except that Continue reading

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Filed under Steaming Pile of Politics

Chris Cooper’s Salinger Eyebrows

Cooper BLUR

Today in eyebrow news:  Continue reading

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Filed under J. D. Salinger

Rufus Wainwright’s Ten Favorite Books

RW10B

Here they are:  Continue reading

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Filed under "Non-fiction", Hooray Fiction!

A Super Tuesday Reading List

The presidential primary season, when we pick the candidates who will compete for our nation’s highest office, is inevitably among the dumbest times in our history. And while we’re not historians, it’s a safe bet that 2016 is among the dumbest we have seen. Today is Super Tuesday, when multiple states cast their votes in this spectacle of our shame, so to smarten up the place a bit, we decided to recommend a few books to the supporters of the various candidates.  We want everyone to have an opportunity to tune out the [unintelligible yelling] and enjoy some good reading.

Hillary Clinton

HRC Book GIF

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Filed under Steaming Pile of Politics