Archive for the ‘Lit’ category

“Suddenly, I miss ninjas.”

September 26, 2011

I’m helping kick off Christopher Higgs’ new comics criticism series at HTMLGIANT with a post about Marvel’s relaunced Daredevil title. Check it out at the link:

Shortly before the arrival of DC Comics’ New 52, DC’s competitor Marvel released the first issue of a new series starring its blind crimefighter Daredevil. In light of the timing, the new Daredevil serves as a parallel study in what makes a relaunch succeed or fail. And, if the first few issues are any indication, a master class.


Belated Announcement

August 21, 2011

Lock-In by Jonathan Mary-Todd is available for purchase. Recommended for fans of werewolves, high school social politics, and slight nods to J.G. Ballard. Grab a copy here or here.

Anna Karenina vs. The Internet, or Children of Children of TV, or Post #151: This Blog at One Year

February 22, 2011

A high school classmate of mine recently spoke with a former teacher about the state of public school lit-teaching. He talked to me about their conversation shortly thereafter. The teacher, to hear my friend tell it, was exasperated. The man not only competes with text messages and YouTube for students’ attention, he also believes that these tools have changed the way that students process all forms of content. When my friend first mentioned this last part to me, I was skeptical, but the next time I opened Anna Karenina, I became increasingly convinced the teacher might be right. I’m at about page eight hundred of the eight hundred seventy-something pages Tolstoy’s second-biggest book, and—full disclosure—the last couple hundred have been a slog. Which I hate to admit, and even typing it makes me feel vaguely like the people I thought were clods in high school English classes (‘What do you mean you didn’t like Slaughterhouse Five??’ thought Greg-at-sixteen, and then he sipped from the thermos of green tea he brought to school each day). But it’s true. If you want to test your own hunger for instant gratification, try reading one of the Great Russian Novels. (more…)

Friday Video: A Close Reading of “You Belong With Me”

January 29, 2011

You’re on the phone with your girlfriend, She’s upset
She’s going off about something that you said
She doesn’t get your humor like I do

Taylor Swift is a Grammy winner, a pop-country chanteuse, a recovering Gyllenhaalic, and—an unreliable narrator? The first lines of “You Belong With Me” set the tone for the song, at least inasmuch as they immediately touch on Swift’s longing for an unnamed boy and the jealousy she feels toward his girlfriend. From these first fifteen-or-so seconds, however, one would probably not anticipate the glimpse into obsession that later verses permit us.

I’m in the room, it’s a typical Tuesday night
I’m listening to the kind of music she doesn’t like

Begging the question, deliberately? (Which came first, Swift’s choice of music or the knowledge that her rival wouldn’t like it?) Imagine, for a moment, that Swift is engaging in an act of self-creation—reinventing who she is contra the target of her enmity, and brazenly gambling that they boy will be drawn to this vision, in negative, of his present girlfriend. Troubling reverse-Single White Female stuff. (more…)

Ten possible titles for the NY TIMES post about J.D. Salinger and Burger King better than ‘Ketchup in the Rye’

January 28, 2011

* Raise High the Roof Beam, Burger King
* Nine Burgers
* Burger King: An Introduction
* For the Burger King–with Love and Squalor
* Hapwhopper 16, 1924
* More Like B.K. Salinger
* ‘Holden’ a Whopper
* Just Before the War with the Burger King
* Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start hankering for a whopper.
* A Perfect Day for Whoppers

[NYT – ‘The Ketchup in the Rye’]

Linkage with Qualifications, DFW Edition

January 28, 2011

A writer reading Infinite Jest is like a surgeon watching another, more adept surgeon perform a never-before-tried operation. It’s not so much a read as a spectator sport.

The world probably doesn’t need another essay stumping for Infinite Jest, but it is a hilarious, humane, life-giving sort of book, and Art Edwards has posted a nice one at The Rumpus anyway.

**Enormous News Alert**

January 18, 2011

Now available for order: The Official Catalog of the Library of Potential Literature (Ben Segal and Erinrose Mager, editors), featuring blurbs by literary big dogs such as Aimee Bender and Matt Bell, and also by me.

“A tour de force of dust-jacket discourse! A torrid farce of rocking back-cover back-patting! . . . Or so I imagine, not yet having ventured into this flurry of blurbs for non-existent masterpieces, a fierce tear through conceptual imagination, an idea vibrating with enviable potential energy.” —Troy Patterson