1. The Millers, of River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa.
A family that once fashioned a Christmas tree out of twigs hacked hastily from a trellis vine has got to have some interesting tricks up their collective sleeve. (I include the Millers knowing full-well that I’m totally bias—one of a small group of lucky people who’ve been able to read the upcoming debut memoir about a family in upheaval while their city crumbles around them. Look for it March 12, 2013 from—you guessed it—Lookout Books!)
In honor of all of you out there growing that moustache for Movember, I’ve put together a little list of the greatest nosehairs that ever hit the literary scene. Got some other good ones I missed?
No list of literary ‘staches would be complete without Mr. Clemens, so let’s get it out of the way up front. This moustache is robust and full-bodied, but you get the sense that it’s all business—it even looks like a frown. This moustache has no time for tomfoolery and japes, and one senses the shame it feels over its bearer’s propensity for humorous writing. Please, Mark, you can hear it urging, let’s have some dignity.
One of the cool things about the MFA program here is the emphasis of what you’re putting on the page. Not like similes or metaphors and whatnot, but whether you’re using a slab serif as your body text (big mistake, that). As the semester winds down and as the Bookbuilding students here begin their final project (designing and creating a chapbook of their own work), I thought I’d share some of my favorite websites about typography and design.
…and the Subsequent Consequences of Their Presidency – John Mortara, Lookout Intern
(1) : After many accusations that Frank O’Hara’s campaign had been secretly funded by The Coca-Cola Company, he wins by a landslide. The entire nation celebrates, and I with it. The first three years of his term are filled with pleasantly casual but deeply-nuanced press conferences concerning café napkins. In his final year President O’Hara completes his goal of rebuilding American infrastructure. A high-speed rail system is constructed across the entire country in no particular direction at all, and for the express purpose of Americans reminiscing about other Americans whilst riding it.
Walking into a library or bookstore—or falling into the swirling vortex the kids call the “World Wide Web”—can be an overwhelming experience. Life is short, and there’s so much literature worth consuming. We all long for a weekend afternoon on the couch, our only companions a cup of coffee and a good book. But what book? You’ve got five sitting unread on your shelf, not to mention three stacked by the front door (library due date approaching), and a Readability queue full of the online essays and short stories you marked “read later.” If you own an eReader, you probably went crazy downloading all the public domain classics you never got around to in high school. Where to begin?
Allow me to simplify things for you by offering some recommendations from a few trusted sources. Herein you’ll discover brand new literature, the craziest stuff on Wikipedia, and everything in between. Mark down what’s of interest to you and disregard the rest. You’ll never run out of things to read, so you may as well just pick something and get started, no regrets.
1) Roxane Gay’s Reading Roundup, Fall 2012: The Rumpus offers some great recommendations and reviews from the co-editor of PANK. She organizes her selections into categories such as “Coming of Age” and “Looking Ahead.”
2) Treehouse: This new online literary magazine requires its contributors to submit Top Five recommendations lists which appear on the site the day after their own creative work is published. The links range in theme from Wikipedia articles to poetry collections to banned books. (The actual pieces posted in Treehouse are excellent, too.)
3) One Way to Talk About Contemporary Fiction: my friend Chris maintains this Tumblr with a friend of his. Find regular links to new fiction and lit-related happenings, nearly all of which are available online.
4) Radiolab: This isn’t a recommendation list per se, but the website for Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich’s fantastic science radio show is chock full of great listening and reading material. Subscribe to the podcast, check out the show archives, and find supplementary reading material for many episodes.
When you’re on the hunt for new reading material, where do you look first? Whose opinion do you trust the most? Let us know in the comments!
Noir is essentially a compendium of detective tropes written in 2nd person, strung together to give the impression of narrative. You, Philip M Noir, spend most of the book drunk, searching for a widow in a maze of murder, jazz and cigarette smoke. As goons continually beat you in the head, victims change into suspects, corpses turn up living, and dead end clues pile up with the bullet casings.
It’s hard to believe Halloween is just around the proverbial Gregorian Calendar corner. I’m a strong proponent of literary-themed costumes, so here are a few costume ideas for the book nerd in all of us. 1. Miss Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
To complete the Havisham look, all you need is a wedding dress and a gray wig. If you want to be gutsy, bring a cake along. Give men the stink-eye.
I love unreliable narrators. They call attention to something interesting about fiction, and writing in general—we’re all unreliable. We process the world through our own lenses, and any story we tell is implicitly our version of events, no matter how fair and balanced we try to be. Nonetheless, some narrators are more unreliable than others, so here are five examples of narrators at their most unreliable. 1. Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden is far from the earliest example of an unreliable narrator, but he’s the one that always pops into my mind first, and I bet I’m not alone on that. Holden has a giant chip on his shoulder, and he doesn’t care about being fair to the people he’s telling you about. Everyone’s a phony to him, and if they have their own side to the story, he doesn’t particularly care.
in Lookout Books’ hometown of Wilmington, NC – Anna Sutton, Lookout Intern
1) I found you among the stacks. And talk about stacked! You were the thick hardback, sitting on the bottom shelf by the cafe tables. I was the barista, staring at you from behind the counter. I liked your tagline. Did you notice me admiring your author photo?
2) You were the classy, “well-aged” hardback by the historical fiction, I can tell we’ve got a lot in common. Let’s grab some coffee and discuss the shameful lack of decorum in contemporary air travel. Or maybe we can go to the zoo and talk about animal welfare standards. And you can bring your friend Gladys, too.
I tend to get work done while listening to music… possibly to the chagrin of the Lookout Books crew. Sorry, guys. Recently, I’ve been trying to combine the two by finding songs or artists with literary themes. Here’s a list of book-related music I’m listening to this week:
A few song titles to fit the mood…
Wrapped Up in Books by Belle & Sebastian
Books Written for Girls by Camera Obscura
A nicely named album or concerto titles that seem appropriate for reference…
Album: Libraries by The Love Language
Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 17 “The Tempest”
And, of course, band names!
Ivan & Alyosha (And if you can’t get enough Dostoyevsky, check out their song called Fathers be Kind.)