I know there was a Tao Lin post x hours ago, but I don’t care. I have books to give away. Want to win free books? Want to grumble? Comment on this post to get one of these:
FIRST PRIZE goes to the commenter with the best* comment
SECOND PRIZE goes to the commenter with the worst* comment
THIRD PRIZE goes to the commenter who makes the MOST* comments (bonus for over 100)
each prize will be selected randomly from the (pictured) prize pool of:
*as calculated by me
(for the curious, the reason I have these books is that I pre-ordered two out of the three, then received ARCs. i bought two copies of Ken’s because I knew it would be badass)
1. A link to Frank Hinton’s review from a few weeks ago.
3. “I started to wonder, and felt relieved that there might be truth to the idea of intellectuals all being frauds. I knew that I certainly was.”
5. I don’t know if Marie Calloway’s writing is unique, but I know I haven’t read anything like it. Have you?
6. “I wondered if maybe men are incapable of understanding something like this as anything other than something that’s meant to get them off.”
7. I’ve been thinking about how subjective the idea of “degradation” is, unless we’re talking about soil erosion or something.
9. I’d be curious to read a story that was “completely incomprehensible to men,” especially if Marie Calloway wrote it.
10. It’s funny how such clear, direct prose has resulted in so many people missing the point entirely. READ MORE >
May 26th, 2013 / 9:59 pm
1. The film The Hurt Locker opens with the quote “The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug.”
2. Marie Calloway’s novel what purpose did i serve in your life opens with the quote “We teach children not to go into stranger’s houses, so why do it as an adult?”
3. The film The Hurt Locker is divided into a number of distinct scenes showcasing Sergeant First Class William James’ deactivating various bombs in intense, maverick ways. The viewer is left with the post-suspense of the diffusal, the slowing of blood-pressure lets one reflect on war as the hazmat is removed.
4. Marie Calloway’s what purpose did i serve in your life is divided into a number of distinct reflections each culminating in some kind of sex which she somehow coordinates in an often intense, maverick-y way. When being degraded, she posits that she deserves it. She states she feels relief and confusion in making herself an object.
5. The movie The Hurt Locker portrays James’ fearlessness in the face of danger and ends with his inability to escape the very thing that is destroying him.
6. Marie Calloway’s novel portrays a young woman moving through life after vaguely mentioned past traumas. She is a rape victim and this shapes her sexual actions and reactions. Though often being grossed-out or averse to a range of sexual suggestions (from being eaten-out to force-fed her own vomit) Calloway’s actions are that of a compliant, non-confrontational lover.
7. In 2011, Gawker called Marie ‘just a girl, with a Tumblr’.
8. In the Jeremy Lin chapter of the book, Lin points out:
“If someone says your writing has flaws or is good, that implies they know a concrete goal that your writing has, which can be measured in numbers, and that the number would be higher or lower if you changed your writing in a certain way, I feel, by that seems incredibly hard to measure, even if two different people had agreed upon a purpose for your writing that could be measured, like ‘increases heart rate in reader’ or something. But it can be depressing to never think in terms of ‘good’/’bad’ without defining contexts/goals in each instance.”
9. A staff member of the Paris Review once told William S. Burroughs that sex seems frequently equated with death in his writing. Burroughs responded:
“That is an extension of the idea of sex as a biologic weapon. I feel that sex, like practically every other human manifestation, has been degraded for control purposes, or really for antihuman purposes. This whole Puritanism. How are we ever going to find out anything about sex scientifically, when a priori the subject cannot even be investigated? It can’t even be thought about or written about. That was one of the interesting things about Reich. He was one of the few people who ever tried to investigate sex—sexual phenomena, from a scientific point of view. There’s this prurience and this fear of sex. We know nothing about sex. What is it? Why is it pleasurable? What is pleasure? Relief from tension? Well, possibly.”
10 a. “If you like me, you have to like shyness.”
b. “I’m smart at some things but not with people or at growing up.” READ MORE >
May 9th, 2013 / 12:26 pm
1. Solip isn’t a novel.
2. If you’re looking for plot, look elsewhere.
3. This might be the single most difficult book to write jacket copy for.
4. This isn’t experimental literature for the sake of experimenting.
5. The book is physically tiny and the front cover is minimalist.
6. There is nothing on the back cover. A wall of black staring at you. No pull quotes or blurbs, and by the second page you realize why: because the book speaks for itself.
7. I read this tiny book in one sitting in a coffee shop amazed by its power and had to go indoors to drown out the outside world to reread it and devour it properly.
8. Baumann’s writing demands your attention. It’s as if he’s bottled up the intensity present in much of online fiction and spread it out over a longer narrative, not losing a beat in the process.
9. The sentences are divine. The language will cast shadows. They will hum to you. Listen closely.
10. The book has a pulse to it, a pulse that beats louder and more pervasively as the text unfolds. READ MORE >
May 7th, 2013 / 3:01 pm
New York Tyrant/Tyrant Books has recently brought two more important texts into the world.
If you’re familiar with the work of these authors, you don’t need me to tell you it is awesome (as in inspiring awe) and wonderful (as in screaming waffle-irons). If you’ve never held an object from Tyrant Books in your hands, I suggest you find a remedy. First lines are below.
White cone descended in sound blister
1. I don’t remember my fifth birthday.
2. Lincoln Dahl, though, remembers his.
3. Lincoln Dahl is the narrator of Sam Michel’s novel, Strange Cowboy, subtitled Lincoln Dahl Turns Five. I suppose the subtitle might make the first phrase of this point redundant—so let me add that there are two Lincoln Dahl’s, the father, our hero, and his son, whose birthday it is.
4. The novel takes place on the day of the party for the younger Lincoln’s fifth birthday. But the actual events of the day serve only as a kind of grounding for the elder Lincoln’s mess of memories.
5. If this book were attempted by a writer any less capable than Sam Michel, it might very well be awful.
6. I’m a sucker for books that play with memory. Especially childhood memories. I like that they’re complicated mysteries. I like that they’re relatable. Everyone has a childhood littered with blocks for good language to rearrange and play with.
7. With so much of memory, we have to take our parents’ word for it. Especially birthdays One through Five. The Fifth is really the first we might be able to remember. The Fifth birthday is a kind of second birth, one of memory. Maybe it’s the line between child and kid.
8. Now the younger Lincoln is five, and he’s going to remember his father. The elder Lincoln knows it from experience.
9. On being a good father:
I hear my wife inform me that my duty to the boy, in part, is to provide for him a model…As it stands, my son’s past with me has been a woozy spiral of neglect and woundings. Lucky for us—for me, she meant—he isn’t likely to remember. Till now.
10. On making it up to him:
“’He’s at the age where he remembers,’ said my wife. ‘Give the boy a party. Anything is possible. I bet he’ll forget you were the one who burned his drawings.’” READ MORE >
November 27th, 2012 / 12:09 pm
At last in its U.S. edition, Tyrant Books makes their third release in the form of Michael Kimball’s gorgeous US (formerly released in a different version overseas as How Much of Us There Was).
This is one of like three books ever that made me cry. I read it in a bathtub, all in one go. It is essentially the story of a old man losing his wife to sickness, but rendered in a way that only Michael Kimball knows. You should find out.
Shipping now from Tyrant Books.