August 2010

Chapbook City

Behind the Scenes / 109 Comments
August 27th, 2010 / 10:48 pm

Fresh Air Exclusive Transcript

Terry Gross with Jonathan Franzen

TERRY GROSS: A lot of people think we look very similar, would you care to comment on that?

JONATHAN FRANZEN: Well Terry, you do sort of look like a man; no offense, and I’m dating a feminist, so we’re on the same team here. Most women have long hair and softer features, which is where the problem is. I just think Americans really need to step back and realize it’s not all about capitalism and gender. My new novel Freedom aims to expose the underbelly and subconscious of the American pathos.

TERRY GROSS: Thanks, that was really touching — speaking of which, what am I hearing under the table?

JONATHAN FRANZEN: Well Terry, I’m under contractual agreement with my publishers to “pound away at [my] future,” and this moment I’m focusing on DNA.



Author Spotlight & Mean / 52 Comments
August 27th, 2010 / 3:31 pm

Criswell Predicts

Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Freedom will be the next Oprah Book Club selection. Between the two of them, nice will be made.

And remember: future events such as this will affect you in the future.

Behind the Scenes / 5 Comments
August 27th, 2010 / 11:56 am

Harold Bloom on Charlie Rose

Author Spotlight / 56 Comments
August 26th, 2010 / 6:24 pm

Schumann’s Träumerei

Robert Schumann said: People compose for many reasons: to become immortal; because the pianoforte happens to be open; because they want to become a millionaire; because of the praise of friends; because they have looked into a pair of beautiful eyes; for no reason whatsoever.

Vladimir Horowitz said: I am a general. My soldiers are the keys and I have to command them.


Music / 31 Comments
August 26th, 2010 / 12:01 pm

@, a series of conversations between random AOL IM users and a psychoanalyst program named ELIZA, which operates by asking questions based on the previously entered text:

fiftyeight: Hello, a/s/l
AOLiza: hi. what seems to be your problem?
fiftyeight: just looking for random people to talk to
AOLiza: tell me more about that.
fiftyeight: I like to talk to random people from all around it is fun. But enough about me, lets talk about you.
AOLiza: tell me more about that.
fiftyeight: Lets talk about you… where do you hail from?
AOLiza: you’re not really talking about me — are you?
fiftyeight: Yes, I am.
AOLiza: please go on.
fiftyeight: well in order to talk about you tell me about yourself
AOLiza: suppose i did tell you — what would that mean?
fiftyeight: that would mean that this was a conversation
AOLiza: that is interesting. please continue.
fiftyeight: conversations are fun
AOLiza: what if they were not fun?


On Chaplin on Kafka on Red Dead Redemption on

“The Wish to be a Red Indian”
by Franz Kafka
Trans. by Willa and Edwin Muir

If one were only an Indian, instantly alert, and on a racing horse, leaning against the wind, kept on quivering jerkily over the quivering ground, until one shed one’s spurs, for there needed no spurs, threw away the reins, for there needed no reins, and hardly saw that the land before one was smoothly shorn heath when horse’s neck and head would be already gone.


Author News & Film & Web Hype / 6 Comments
August 26th, 2010 / 3:54 am

The first online issue of TriQuarterly is live and I must say, it looks amazing.

Directions to forever

The top ten list just released [left] is almost identical as last year’s [right], except University of Massachusetts Amherst was dropped, replaced by Syracuse University. If you care about your future, the drive will take you approximately 4 hours and 23 minutes. If you have to cry in the car, please roll down the windows, as your tears will evaporate quicker. A good place to hide acid tabs should you be pulled over is under your eyelids. A good place to blow someone is America. The best way to get there:


Mean & Web Hype / 148 Comments
August 25th, 2010 / 7:39 pm