If you’ve read Amelia Gray’s amazing THREATS you know she’s got a flair for making the normal weird and the weird . . . well, weirder. So it should come as no surprise that when she tackles something as ostensibly normal as a celebrity profile, she’s going to throw in some patron saints, childhood encounters with ghosts, extracts from self-help books, and more than one mention of Cracker Barrel. Here’s Amelia’s profile of Spring Breakers star Selena Gomez in Flaunt magazine.
For their 300th issue, The ShortList challenged their favorite writers to create an original piece of crime fiction that would clock in at exactly 300 words—no more, no less. Crimes in Southern Indiana and Donnybrook author Frank Bill was game, of course, but there are also some great shorts from George Pelecanos, Will Self, Daniel Woodrell, and a bunch of others.
What’s it like to eat sushi with David Foster Wallace? To have scones with Kazuo Ishiguro and get grilled by Louise Erdich? John Freeman knows all of these things, and now that he’s in the middle of his tour for How to Read a Novelist, we get to hear him talk about them with some of the very writers he’s profiled in his book. It’s a weird exercise—to turn the tables on the interviewer—and John’s written about the experience beautifully at The Paris Review Daily.
In Greece, a little blonde girl identified as “Maria” is making headlines after being removed from the Roma couple raising her, a couple now under investigation on charges of child-snatching. But stories like this one raise questions about whether Maria’s designation as a stolen child stems from actual evidence or from ethnic stereotypes.
Over at Time.com, Oksana Marafioti—author of American Gypsy, a memoir about growing up a Roma immigrant in America—has a great article addressing those very questions, which touches on historical conceptions of Roma as child-snatchers and the evidence of those stereotypes in coverage of Maria’s story.
Here’s a peek at what she has to say:
Nothing better than an award-winning critic writing about an award-winning poet, or at least that’s how we see it. If you agree—and really you should—head over to Poetry Daily to read John Freeman’s essay (originally published in the Virginia Quarterly Review) on the oeuvre of W.S. Merwin, which John praises for its “awesome range, intensity, and feral strangeness.” We suggest you read through to the end—it’s got a killer last line.
In case that wasn’t persuasive enough for you, here’s a taste of what he has to say:
In honor of the publication of Robin Sloan’s Ajax Penumbra 1969, his digital original prequel to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore that chronicles Mr. Penumbra’s first visit to the City by the Bay in the year 1969 A.D., we are inaugurating a series of posts to help show what the city looked like way back then - when the city was perhaps no longer the full-blown Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test of the Summer of Love (1967) but also wasn’t quite yet the gritty streets patrolled by Dirty Harry or even Karl Malden and a fluffy-haired Michael Douglas in The Streets of San Francisco.
In Ajax Penumbra 1969, young, intrepid Mr. P. “passes a construction site where a wide ziggurat reaches for the sky and a placard promises THE FUTURE SITE OF THE TRANSAMERICA PYRAMID above a fine-lined rendering of a shining spear.” It’s a sign of a city leaning forward into the future. And while we’d all recognize that lovely “pyramid” now - well, we all had to start somewhere:
“A most unusual love story unravels when the objects in a young man’s pockets come to life . . .” Check out Goran Ducik’s film adaptation of “What Do We Have in Our Pockets?” by Etgar Keret, which just made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival.
Warren Ellis tells Largehearted Boy what he was listening to while writing Dead Pig Collector. Hint: it’s going to be dark, creepy, and epic, just like the novelette.
But if that didn’t get you reaching for your Dr. Dre Beats, maybe “a choir of demented angels singing a city to death” will…
We understand the joke that gender is, and we understand how masterfully I embody its barbed glories.
“Blood in Your Eye: Why We Need Violent Stories” is Warren Ellis’s fantastic new essay that just went up on Vulture.