Recent Posts

Friday, May 7, 2010

Zombie Novels

Occasionally I’ll stumble across an essay that just blows my mind for its breadth and scope. The other day I read Mark McGurl’s essay “Zombie Renaissance” in n+1 Magazine and knew I had to share this with y'all. Somehow Mr. McGurl manages to discuss the state of the novel, realism, fantasy, zombies, politics, and economics all in one thoroughly readable essay. As a piece of literary criticism it is top notch, and I suggest y’all carve out a few minutes to take a gander at it.

You can read the essay here.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

God willing and the creeks don’t rise

As I sat watching the news as the flood waters in Nashville kept rising and rising, I was filled with this queasy sense of unreality. In the last decade I've witnessed* several natural and manmade disasters. In fact, currently there is that massive oil spill in the Gulf and the miners who died in the mine explosions in Kentucky and West Virginia. But there was something wholly different about the flood in Nashville, because here were images of disaster, set against a backdrop that was intimately familiar to me. I lived in Nashville for three years and walked those streets, and played in those venues, and drank pints in those bars. My sister and many of my friends still live there, and though fortunately none of them were hurt (or even really directly effected), it has been uniquely difficult to watch as the city, where I met my wife, and wrote my first novel, and where my hopes of musical super-stardom imploded, buried under the surging waters of the Cumberland.

My heart goes out to all those people effected by the flood, whether I know them or not, and as combative as my relationship with Music City has been through the years, I hope deeply that Nashville finds a way to recover. There is a spirit there found nowhere else, and it would be a travesty if it was lost.

For more information you can check out the Tennessean here.

Also, here's an article about the rich people that were effected by the storm from Entertainment Weekly.

Ann Pratchett of the New York Times wrote an amazing piece about the flood here.

And finally here is a link to the Great American Country blog, which has links to multiple places you can donate to help victims of the flood.

*By witness I, of course, mean "saw on TV."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spoken Art

The New York Times ran a great article last week about William Furlong, a conceptual artist who started taping conversations with other artists in the 1970's. He eventually began releasing the tapes as an audio "magazine," which became an arts-world phenomenon in England until the magazine stopped in 2007. A collection of some of the tapes have been published recently by Phaidon Press titled Speaking of Art, and four hours' worth can be sampled here.

If you would like to read the article click here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Smart Paper

The New Yorker's book blog, The Book Bench, recently posted about new technology being created by MIT, which essentially integrates computing hardware into paper. The logical use of this paper would be to make more realistic e-readers, like this one.

You can read the blog here.

Monday, May 3, 2010

On Irony, Politics, and Sir Thomas More

J.C. Hallman of The Millions brings us a very interesting essay on the lingering effects of Sir Thomas More's Utopia. According to Hallman, Utopia, which is a satire, has had a profound impact on modern society largely because no one realized that it was a joke. Then he goes on to link the text to The Colbert Report and modern Conservatives and irony deficiency. It's fascinating to say the least.

You can check out the essay here.