Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer are the founders of online art marketplace Witchsy. They are not, to our knowledge, novelists or literary critics. They are the creators of a platform for people to sell arts and crafts that, as Fast Company reports, “eschews the ‘Live Laugh Love’ vibe of knickknacks commonly found on sites like Etsy in favor of art that is at once darkly nihilistic and lightheartedly funny, ranging in spirit from fiercely feminist to obscene just for the fun of it.”
As they worked to build their company, Gazin and Dwyer noticed that the hired help — mostly men brought on for design and development — were “slow to respond, and vaguely disrespectful in correspondence.” So they created Keith Mann, “an aptly named fictional character who could communicate with outsiders over email.”
You can read the full story of how that changed things over at Fast Company.
David Foster Wallace used to say that the point of fiction was to show what it’s like “to be a fucking human being.” Sometimes, apparently, the point of fiction is just to be treated like a fucking human being.
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 signatures. Continue reading
“I think about a world to come / Where the books were found by the golden ones / Written in pain, written in awe / By a puzzled man who questioned / What we were here for…”
You’ve no doubt heard — David Bowie passed away last night after fighting cancer. He was 69 years old.
In response, Twitter has reminded us that Bowie was a serious book lover. Geoffrey Marsh, who curated an Art Gallery of Ontario exhibit on Bowie a few years back said Bowie was “‘a voracious reader’ who is reputed to read as much as ‘a book a day.'”
So we want to say goodbye the best way we know how: by talking books. Here is a list at Brain Pickings of Bowie’s 75 favorite books, and an article at Open Book Toronto that expands the list to 100. There is lots here that you would probably expect — Orwell’s 1984 and Nabokov’s Lolita — as well as a few interesting choices like The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Hitchens’ The Trial of Henry Kissinger.
These are the recommendations on books from Bowie. Any recommendations from readers out there on the best of the more than 60 books that have come out about Bowie? Here’s one we liked.
This week, Esquire.com ran a super hot online photo gallery featuring eight incredible women…giving their book recommendations. The list — “80 Books Every Person Should Read” — updates an older list to better reflect the world we actually live in, as they explain:
What can we say? We messed up. Our list of “80 Books Every Man Should Read,” published several years ago, was rightfully called out for its lack of diversity in both authors and titles. So we invited eight female literary powerhouses, from Michiko Kakutani to Anna Holmes to Roxane Gay, to help us create a new list.
It’s a really damn good list.
Welcome to Hillary Clinton’s America, Esquire!
Maybe you really want a mediocre crossword puzzle to pass the time. Or you need a map of your destination airport to find the best route to the Chili’s Too. But for the most part, the in-flight magazine hasn’t typically ranked a lot higher than the barf bag as something you ever want to remove from your seat-back pocket.
Well those were the old days — before Rhapsody.
Actually, those are still the current days if you’re not flying first class on United Airlines. But if you are, you will find what the New York Times calls a “lofty literary journal” that publishes “original works by literary stars like Joyce Carol Oates, Rick Moody, Amy Bloom, Emma Straub and [Anthony] Doerr, who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction two weeks ago.”
This is undoubtedly a cool, if weird, thing. Great writers are getting solid audience exposure and, presumably, actual paychecks from a major company. For United, Rhapsody “brings a patina of sophistication to its first-class service, along with other opulent touches like mood lighting, soft music and a branded scent,” according to the airline’s managing director of marketing and product development.
Also this: “Two of the magazine’s seven staff members hold graduate degrees in creative writing.” So it also means that at least two people with graduate degrees in creative writing have gotten actual jobs.
Read the full story “Rhapsody, a Lofty Literary Journal, Perused at 39,000 Feet”
Today’s Google doodle celebrates the 112th birthday of John Steinbeck. And while it passes over what is arguably his greatest work, East of Eden, it is still pretty wonderful.
Happy birthday John Steinbeck.
And while I’m at it, happy birthday to my sister and fellow East of Eden fan Samantha Moats, who continues to remind me of something Steinbeck wrote: “I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”
– Michael Moats