Valeria’s Self-Publishing Journey Is the Type of Schlock That Encourages Naïve Dreams of Author Grandeur

There are all of about three truly “noteworthy” and “recent” self-publishing success stories: Legally Blonde, Fifty Shades of Grey and Diary of an Oxygen Thief (each book being decidedly diverse in content). There have been others, of course, even from the more “old school” authors, like Proust, Woolf, Austen and Hawthorne. And their work was perhaps more “viral” at the time precisely because we didn’t then use terms like “viral” … Continue reading Valeria’s Self-Publishing Journey Is the Type of Schlock That Encourages Naïve Dreams of Author Grandeur

On the Subversiveness of the Act of Reading in The White Lotus

Reading, in general, feels like an “anomalous” act. Particularly if it’s tangible literature. For “screen methods” have made it easy for “regulars” and vacationers alike to download as many books (a truly odious phrase) as they want to without worrying about the extra bulk it might cause in their suitcase or carry-on. Thus, the subversiveness of “analog” reading is taken to a new level within … Continue reading On the Subversiveness of the Act of Reading in The White Lotus

De Sade’s Reanimation in the Sex Book

Madonna’s still-underrated literary masterpiece, Sex, was arguably the last time a massive audience got truly excited—titillated—about a book. Coffee table or not. And, balk at the prose all you will (including, “My pussy has nine lives”)—it still got people talking about sex in a way they never had as a result of literature since the era of Marquis de Sade’s reign over erotic content. Madonna was … Continue reading De Sade’s Reanimation in the Sex Book

Tarantino Petty: On Not Forgiving Those Who Piss On Your Dreams (Particularly Your Parents)

While promoting his recent novelization of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino confessed freely to Brian Koppelman on his The Moment podcast that the second his mother belittled his aspirations of becoming a writer, he vowed never to give her a “penny” from the eventual fruits of his labor.  The revelation/solemn vow popped into his head when Tarantino was getting a verbal lashing for working on … Continue reading Tarantino Petty: On Not Forgiving Those Who Piss On Your Dreams (Particularly Your Parents)

“The Things I Once Enjoyed Just Keep Me Employed Now”: On the Benefits of Artistic Obscurity

There is an undeniable sadness to knowing that—short of a goddamn miracle—you’re going to end up dying in obscurity like Kafka. Oh sure, you can tell yourself you’ll be that “rare exception” and that you’ve got “true talent” (as if that’s what publishing is about) that outshines all the rest, but you may eventually find that you aren’t rare and talent isn’t enough. And yet, … Continue reading “The Things I Once Enjoyed Just Keep Me Employed Now”: On the Benefits of Artistic Obscurity

Lourdes Leon Reading bell hooks Has Some Weighty Implications

Among other casual bombshells in Lourdes Leon’s first Vanity Fair feature, one included, of all things, her reading list. For starters, it wasn’t necessarily imagined she would be “basic” enough to fuck with Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. For another, bell hooks being name-dropped (specifically 2000’s All About Love: New Visions) seems, in many respects, vaguely traitorous to her own mother, who was the subject of … Continue reading Lourdes Leon Reading bell hooks Has Some Weighty Implications

The Experiences of Ramona Quimby Belong to the Twentieth Century

It seems fitting—poetic, really—that Beverly Cleary’s death should occur as the throes of the pandemic and its effects continue to rage on (despite what the “officials” might try to declare with their attempts at “rosy” depictions; people will say anything to keep the wheels of capitalism turning, after all). For this is the generation of children slated, arguably, to be the most “fucked up”—or at … Continue reading The Experiences of Ramona Quimby Belong to the Twentieth Century

If The Beasts Could Talk, This Is What They Would Say…

Of all Beatrix Potter’s many tales, she often said it was The Tailor of Gloucester that proved to be her favorite. She even wrote it right around Christmastime of 1901, especially for the daughter of her former governess (oh the Brits with their governesses). In 1902, she was circulating the story “privately” to friends and, by 1903, it was off to the presses for the … Continue reading If The Beasts Could Talk, This Is What They Would Say…

The Poignancy of John le Carré “Bidding Adieu” Before He Could Witness Brexit At Full Tilt

John le Carré had, for all intents and purposes, “thrown in the towel” after 1990. This was the year when his (supposed) last George Smiley book, The Secret Pilgrim, came out. It was an apt (presumed) coda for someone of le Carré’s distinctive genre predilection to cease releasing new work about this particular spy. After all, these novels were rooted in the espionage category that … Continue reading The Poignancy of John le Carré “Bidding Adieu” Before He Could Witness Brexit At Full Tilt

Of All The Trailblazing Fashionistas, The Invisible Man Has Been The Most Unexpected

When H.G. Wells published The Invisible Man in 1897, there were major changes afoot. The turning wheels of the Industrial Revolution had impacted the lives of civilization as few technological advancements ever had. With this historical background in mind, Wells’ focus on a scientist gone mad in the pursuit of his quest for “progress” is not out of the realm of possibility. Neither in the … Continue reading Of All The Trailblazing Fashionistas, The Invisible Man Has Been The Most Unexpected