“That’s the way it is, that’s the way it goes, that was the way it went … a room. A nice room. A beautiful room. A beautiful room with bath. A very beautiful room with bath. Up to the dizzying heights of the suite. Two rooms, sitting-room, bath and vestibule. (The small bedroom is in case you don’t feel like me, or in case you meet somebody you like better and come in late.) Anything you want brought up on the dinner-wagon. (But, alas! the waiter has a louse on his collar. What is that on his collar? … Bitte schön, mein Herr, bitte schön …) Swing high … Now, slowly, down. A beautiful room with bath. A room with bath. A nice room. A room …”—
Doing dishes and too lazy/rubbergloved to switch radio stations, even though the Brian Lehrer interviewee is a right-wing creep. But then something shifts and instead of resigning myself to feeling unnecessary recreational hatred I unglove and turn the dial. The next station over is playing a great song I’ve never heard before.
Two meatspace occurrences that generate some of the same brain feelings as an online revamping:
1. Visiting a business or institution that used to be housed in a different location in its new location for the first time. The old things are there but in a new arrangement. You keep looking for things in the wrong place.
2. Visiting a business or institution — typically, a restaurant — that used to be a different business. This happens to New Yorkers so often they barely notice when it does. “This Starbucks used to be a The Bean.” “This French restaurant used to be a Vietnamese restaurant.” Usually it dawns on you in the bathroom, because that’s where they’ve renovated least.
“Well the truth is – is this really bad to say?—this is my autobiography. But people were like, ‘You just can’t market it as that, everyone will be horrified.” And actually there was stuff in there that was way worse, that I took out. Cause people were just, like, “No one can take this. No one can read this. Just stop.”—
“Block paints Los Angeles in late-eighties’ Rococo: Patrick Nagel doing the Go-Gos in dayglo. In Weetzie Bat, Los Angeles is a city in which “everyone was always young and lit up like a movie, palm trees turned into tropical birds, Marilyn-blonde angels flew through the spotlight rays, the cars were the color of candied mints and filled with lovers making love as they drove down the streets paved with stars that had fallen from the sky.” Block’s prose style is impressionistic mini-maximalism; she blurs facts and focuses on gauzy detail, like an outfit comprised entirely of lavish accessories and no pants.”—
Helen DeWitt’s books aren’t apologetic, cute or kind. In an Extremely Sentimental and Curiously Twee literary marketplace, we need her work more than ever, argues Rich Beck
In the last fifteen years, the Precocious Child has become one of the American novel’s favorite protagonists. Whimsical, ingenious, and verbose, the Precocious Child knows simultaneously more and less than his adult readers. He may be a tennis prodigy (Infinite Jest) or a twelve-year old farm boy who wins science prizes from the Smithsonian Institute (The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet). But he’s impeded by his youth and something else, too: autism (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime) or amusingly bad English (Everything Is Illuminated) make it difficult for him to understand or articulate adult feelings. This tension between extraordinary competence in some areas and lovable haplessness in others is what gives the Precocious Child novel its appeal.
The Last Samurai belongs to this genre—in fact, it is one of the very first Precocious Child novels—but it also obviates it. It seems to have been written, point by point, to reject everything the Precocious Child novel would come to stand for.
Rich has been working on this for a long time and I encourage you to stick it on your phone for your commute home today. The Last Samurai, though not yet an Emily Book, is one of my favorite books in the world, and Rich has honed in on one of the sources of its power: a refreshing and unapologetic cruelty, which reveals truths that warmer-hearted books can’t touch.
“There’s an episode in Season 4 of Mad Men where Dr. Miller talks to Draper about the conflict addressed by advertising, which is, she says, always the same: We’re torn between what we want and what’s expected of us. I think one hears this with a sense of recognition - recognition of something true, but also of the fact that its truth is mainly deployed to get us to buy things.”—Emily Books: “A Glory Hole Would Have Ruined EVERYTHING.” An Interview with Helen DeWitt
“The DOJ lawsuit: Disrupts the current system and forces publishers who have agreed to a settlement to reconceive agency pricing. Yes, this means immediate lower e-book prices for the consumer, but you have to question a decision that is opposed by the American Booksellers Association, the Authors Guild and which allows Amazon to regain the upper hand. Macmillan and Penguin vow to fight the lawsuit and each provide a cogent reason why the lawsuit is bad.
No one involved is against Amazon, or low prices per se (“Yay, $2.99 ebooks!”), the question is whether a system can be maintained that allows for a competitive market but one that doesn’t cannibalize the industry it supports.”—
The bathrooms in hell smell like this. Aggressively, blindingly horrible, the worst part of fake grape flavor bolstered by the strongest artificial sweet amber concocted by man or devil. I want to cry. — TS
”—In preparation for a perfume shopping trip planned for tomorrow I am rereading a little bit of my favorite book. I LOVE YOU TANIA!!!
“I read a survey that says college-educated women receive oral sex twice as often as non-college-educated women. I am in graduate school. I am not receiving all the benefits of my education.”—Making Scenes (via emilybooks)
Oh God! Like most of America my personal Internet/social circle, I haven’t even seen Girls yet and am already obsessed with it, and this kind of thing is why. ”The first time I fuck you I might scare you a little” is unbeatable, but here is the best variation on this I have ever personally experienced:
"Do you even know how much you’re torturing me right now?" — Greg, 1995. This was at my 14th birthday party, we were broken up, I was wearing a half-sweater from The Express that revealed my midriff, as most clothing did in the early 90s. We later got to 2nd base in the laundry room.
“When women write in the first person their work is often called “confessional.” And there’s an accepted template for female narratives that tends to be the only story you read in bestselling books and first-person essays in women’s magazines that goes like: “I was bad – [sordid description of bad behavior] – but then [love, my baby, my husband, AA, etc] saved me. I solved my problem. I am no longer bad.” I have nothing against redemption per se but I am really bored with that story. That story doesn’t reflect anything about what women’s or human beings’ lives are really like. I have always gravitated to books that resist the commercial impulse to make life conform to formulaic narrative conventions. This is how books are marketed, understandably, because it’s an easy story to sum up, and you can also sell it to the reader as instructive: this is how you, too, can get better and start living your best life ™! But I prefer to read books like, say, Glory Goes and Gets Some by Emily Carter, where the narrator goes to rehab, gets clean, and then the book is only half over and she still has to figure out life and it’s genuine and very complicated.”—In case you were confused about what kind of books I like
“Her name is Rachel, and she’s Jewish, which means she’s the first date in years who would meet my family’s requirements.
She takes me back to her apartment and shows me personal, meaningful things. I try to be interested and compassionate, but I don’t want her to think this is long-term. She says she hasn’t thrown up for two years. I tell her I don’t throw up anymore, either. While she talks to me, I size her up—not gorgeous, but an incredible voice. She’s got a flat stomach but flat breasts. I hope for really big nipples.”—Emily Books: Trading Futures
Given the industry’s fears about Amazon’s increasing monopoly on talent and market share, coupled with its ability to drive prices, you’d think publishers would be hesitant to do anything that would make it easier for Amazon to maintain its dominance. Instead, by insisting that e-booksellers implement DRM, publishers are essentially handcuffing themselves to the train tracks and giving Amazon the key.
Emily Books has gotten around this problem, so far, by selling great books published by smaller companies who either agree with us about DRM’s uselessness or can’t afford to care about it. And we’ve experienced exactly zero problems with piracy so far. We still dream of rescuing neglected books from major publishers’ backlists and using our unique platform to introduce these books to a new audience of eager readers. That major publishers currently can’t allow a small bookstore to do something that’s in their own and in their authors’ best interests means the system is broken.
”—Ruth wrote a great op-ed about how publishers are sabotaging themselves by requiring booksellers to apply digital rights management to the books they sell. You might think you don’t care about this issue, but if you like books, writing or reading, you care about this issue.
“The reason why I wrote about that one aspect of my life so often was not to brag about being a wild, crazy, out-of-control, party, sex animal, but rather, to own the normalcy of it.
So why would I feel the need to make peace with a part of my life that maybe bothered other people but never bothered me? I never ever thought that being a slut was a weird or terrible thing that ruined a woman’s chances of being taken seriously as a wife or mother so there’s really nothing to report on how I managed to overcome my disgusting embarrassment of a life in order to achieve true happiness and reclaim my dignity.”—
It used to be that the only story women were allowed to tell, that it seemed like the world wanted to hear, was “I was bad and then I learned my lesson and became good.” Join me in heralding the end of that era. I want to hear women tell any and every other story.
"I was frustrated with a class that seemed to be making work that was just too easy. Too many conceptual one-liners, too many lightweight "political statements" devoid of any ambiguity, too much autopilot minimalism. No risk, no complexity, no real personal investment.
My assignment was make a piece that is guaranteed to make the viewer say, ‘WTF?!?’
Not every response was a masterpiece, but at least students stopped relying on their default can’t-fail strategies. ‘WTF?!?’ is actually a much humbler goal than changing the world or manifesting mystical truth. To aim low was liberating. For some students, the pleasure they experienced in completing the assignment served as a reminder that making art does not always have to rely on strenuous efforts toward a precisely predetermined goal. Instead, sometimes the process can be only a playful exploration, destination unknown. Feedback to this assignment was strongly positive. Several students reported they felt that WTF-ness was exactly what had been missing from their work.”
“I try to curb these feelings by reassuring myself with a rotating assortment of pep talks, some of which can temporarily seem to work. One of them goes: “a rising tide floats all boats!” Another one goes: “put your head down and do your work. No one can be better than you are at being you. “ Above all, I try to convince myself that the idea that there are limited opportunities available to women is a big fat lie that the men who control most culture industries would love to have us believe, so we’ll keep ourselves occupied getting into Twitter wars instead of making art. There are as many spots available as we create for ourselves.”—on jealousy