Renata Adler, "Irreparable Harm"

Not infrequently, an event so radical that it alters everything appears for a time to have had no effect, or even not to have occurred. This is true in personal as in public life. A loss, a flood, a medical diagnosis, a rolling of tanks towards the statehouse—life goes on apparently as usual. Nothing is changed. It is particularly true of events that are irremediable. When there is nothing to be done, people go to work, eat their lunch, sleep, awaken to a vastly altered world, in ways that seem uncanny in their ordinariness.

Last week I mentioned, that I was reading the new collection of [...]


"The Strange Case of Rachel K."

Something I think about more and more is how to convey the most amount of information in the least amount of words; for simplicity, sure, but also for power. The person with the most power always speaks the least, which is what someone with a healthy amount of power once told me, so I trust them, kind of.

Over the weekend I read The Strange Case of Rachel K., a collection of very, very short stories by Rachel Kushner: "The Great Exception," a story about an explorer with a penchant for hyperbole and a woman named Aloha, "Debouchment," a story about an argument in a bar, and then the [...]


Black Girls Don't Read Sylvia Plath

It was another muggy summer, the summer I discovered Plath. If I had discovered her legacy later in life, it may have served as a calming revelation, the meat of hindsight. Wonderment not as thorny and beloved.

I discovered Plath through the typical girlhood grapevine: a slumber party. A friend who looked like Stevie Nicks circa Rumors but had suited up in detail-heavy riot girrl gear mentioned Sylvia Plath. She had just finished The Bell Jar. She wanted to know if I had read it. She casually said, like a cowboy flicking a cigarette stub to the side, I think you’d like it.


"Has Your Husband Read It?"

Over the weekend I read Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce, mostly because several of my friends had e-mailed me this review by Pooja Bhatia with the following line highlighted:

People compare Tierce to Joan Didion, maybe the doyenne of literary realism, and Mary Gaitskill, whose intense short stories have explored sex and debasement.

I mean, sold.


A Post About Books, Sort Of

I am completely charmed by Uncovered Classics, a project by writer and designer Amy Collier to celebrate 20th century novels by women. (The project was created in response to Modern Library's dude heavy list on the same topic.) Uncovered Classics both revisits and rediscovers old titles as kind of an ongoing book club, and Collier is recruiting different artists to design new covers, because let's be real, that's the best way to judge a book.

I am a sucker for books as tactile objects. I am actually trying to be less precious about them! I own, ahem, a metric fuckton of books, and I've gotten a [...]


Totally Real and Not Made Up Excerpts From Kim Gordon's Forthcoming Memoir

"[Richard] Edson, [Bob] Bert, [Jim] Sclavunos…we went through a lot of drummers early on before finally settling on Steve Shelley in 1985. Our excuse was we were trying to find the right percussionist to perfect the sound we were aiming for, but really, Thurston kept firing them because they made fun of his hair."

"I once saw Billy Corgan cry while watching Home Alone 2. And not just like, tearing up a little. He was full on bawling."

[On Sonic Youth's 1996 guest stint on the Simpsons] "That wasn't actually us. That was just a cartoon rendering of us."


Writers Writing About Writers (and Musicians, and Artists, and and)

I was in New York a few weeks ago and I did something truly outrageous—I walked into my favorite bookstore, turned to Anna, and was like, "I'm only allowed to buy one book, ok?", and then actually bought only one book. I hope you can appreciate the magnitude of this event because it has, quite literally, never happened before and will probably never happen again.


A Recent Visit To A Local Bookstore

On Saturday the weather was grey and foggy and damp and even though my head hurt (I always get headaches in rainy weather) and my hair was frizzy (same) after I met my sister for lunch I didn't want to go home just yet. I convinced her to come with me to my favorite bookstore in my neighborhood "just for one quick second" which, as we've already established, is a sign I'm about to spend way too much money in a very short amount of time.

I bought these books:


Books You Might Like Because Some People on Twitter Thought I'd Like Them

Yesterday, Haley had sent me to the library since I've never read any Zadie Smith (I know!! I know!!!!!!!!). I asked Twitter for some additional recommendations, and they gave me more stuff than I could read in a lifetime, so I wanted to share it with you: These Are the Books that My Twitter Followers Think You Should Read. You'll Never Guess What Comes Next. (Books.)

Consider it your holiday homework assignment (after The Pillow Book, obviously). I ended up checking out Changing My Mind, by Zadie Smith, Salvage the Bones, by Jesmyn Ward, and, of course, the crown jewel— Simon and Garfunkel: The Biography, by [...]


Book Titles, Answered

A: My natural habitat being systematically destroyed in the name of advancing civilization.

A: Technically, they count electric sheep while they're still awake, trying to drift off to sleep. Then they generally dream of naked lady androids, or of writing midterms at the local electric school they're unprepared for, while wearing electric underwear with a Batman motif.