Our next special-focus issue, due out in January, is all aboutSkin. Eva Talmadge, co-author ofThe Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwide, talks with editor Anna Schachner in the editor’s note, and so we asked co-authorJustin Taylorto give us some additional insight on what is fast becoming a subculture. First, a little about the book:
The Word Made Flesh: Literary Tattoos from Bookworms Worldwideis a guide to the emerging subculture of literary tattoos—a collection of 100 full-color photographs of human skin indelibly adorned with quotations and images from Pynchon to Dickinson to Shakespeare to Plath. Packed with beloved lines of verse, literary portraits, and illustrations—and statements from the bearers on their tattoos’ history and the personal significance of the chosen literary work—The Word Made Flesh is part photo collection, part literary anthology written on skin.
Special features include a reprint of…
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Our dynamic nonfiction editor Amber Nicole Brooks prepares readers for our forthcoming Skin issue with a tribute to one woman who started an important conversation on the topic, Eve Ensler, via Ensler’s new book, In the Body of the World:
Author of The Vagina Monologues and one of Newsweek‘s 150 Women Who Changed the World, Eve Ensler has given the world an arresting memoir of wondrous breadth, In the Body of the World (Metropolitan Books, 2013). Ensler’s voice is vulnerable, fierce, and acutely aware. A list titled “Scans” divides the book into fifty-three sections, including “Somnolence,” “Falling or Congo Stigmata,” “The Stoma,” “Crowd Chemo,” “Riding the Lion,” “Shit,” and “Joy.” The scans, metaphors, and variants of pain at first seem to create a fractured vision. However, as the narrative accumulates layers, and in a way heals itself, its preoccupations, Ensler indeed makes the vision whole.
Through her experiences…
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I’m loving Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides’ Pulitzer Prize winning novel. I assumed I’d enjoy it, as I absolutely loved The Virgin Suicides. Middlesex is different, in that it’s a multi-generational tome. But, it’s lovely and somehow classic and modern at once. The well-educated, self-aware narrator comments on the postmodernist method of narration, but really, it’s done so well that the complexities and oddness of it may very well not at all distract the casual reader.
I find myself still in the middle of Rebecca Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby, Susan Sontag’s Styles of Radical Will, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. More than halfway through The Faraway Nearby, I think I had simply misplaced it. Styles of Radical Will, however, turned out to be far more scholarly, or less-fun, say, than I’d imagined it would be. I picked up both the Solnit and Sontag books based on seeing the writers referenced in other works, primarily essays by women: specifically, I think, Lelsie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams (which everyone needs to read, by the way). It’s hard to keep track! Animal, Vegetable, Mineral is a Little Free Library score; we have several of them in my neighborhood. I love my neighborhood.
Friday, I presented a paper titled “Amateurs” that outlines the parallels between the disciplines of writing and boxing. It’s primarily a synthesis of scholarship but also includes my own primary research, a splash of memoir. I was on a panel representing The Georgia Carolinas College English Association (GCCEA) at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference (SAMLA). SAMLA is always a little bit weird to me, me who feels more comfortable at the smaller state or regional conferences where I know more people. It’s as if, at SAMLA, every person I make eye contact with and would perhaps then introduce myself to then begins speaking in French. Not speaking French nor harboring a fanatical passion for any highly specialized area of research makes me feel inadequate. But only for a moment. I digress.
I’m still working on a group of essays: shopping some around, finishing some up, ignoring long lists of remaining research questions. I’m being tormented by a post-apocalyptic dystopian novel I outlined two summers ago, wondering if it is meant to be a novella, a long short story, or nothing. After receiving a complimentary rejection from Algonquin, which encouraged me to keep sending the manuscript out to other editors, I’m shopping Ash around to more small presses.
Finally, I just realized my first line sounds like a McDonald’s commercial, but I’m not going to edit it. Instead, I’ll let us soak in the colloquial rhythm and decide how depressed to be about that insidious unrealized representation of capitalist America that crept into my prose.
I enjoyed ‘The Circle‘ by Dave Eggers earlier this year but it has to be said that the core message about the evils of the Internet was pretty overdone. However, what Eggers lacks in subtlety, he makes up for in irony and it’s therefore unsurprising that he gave his memoir the title ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’. First published in 2000, this was Eggers’ first book which is a loose account of his life following the deaths of his parents from cancer in the early 1990s within six weeks of each other. At the age of twenty-one, Eggers found himself to be the unofficial guardian of his eight-year-old brother Christopher known as Toph. They moved from the suburbs of Chicago to California where Eggers later co-founded the satirical magazine ‘Might’.
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This was my pick for psychology. Not having a background in the field and lacking familiarity with the associated jargon, I was hoping to find a book that was pretty accessible to “everybody else”. While Sacks has a tendency to throw names of disorders and other words around like I am supposed to know what they mean, for the most part this book still fit that bill. The more necessary terms were explained in detail, and when all is said and done, this book is less about the disorders and more about the actual patients who suffered from them.
The book is broken into four parts: Losses, Excesses, Transports, and the World of the Simple. The first two were the more interesting to me as they focus on patients dealing with problems you very rarely hear about, such as the sudden lack of ability to recognize your own…
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I first discovered Kim Newman through his excellent Video Dungeon columns in Empire magazine, which, along with his more mainstream reviews for the magazine, demonstrated a man with a great knowledge for the fringes of cinema. So, when I saw his 1989 work, Nightmare Movies, had been reversioned and rereleased I picked it up as soon as I could.
It is an initially daunting tome, clocking in at 500 pages it is undeniably an in-depth look at horror cinema since (roughly) 1960. The first half is the original book reprinted with extra footnotes and it lives up to all the good I’d heard about it taking us through the 30 years after Psycho in fairly extreme detail.
Each chapter takes on, loosely speaking, a different sub-genre by focusing on a few of the well-known classics and referencing their connections to lesser known films while both critically exploring what, in…
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