fiction

Hip reads for 2012

Hip reads for 2012

We know it’s hard to invest in a story, play, or essay these days. But with Kindles, Nooks, iPads, old fashion print, and audio books, there are convenient ways to keep your brain stimulated and find time to text. Besides, looking like you care about something other than a video game score during your morning commute totally increases your sexy points in the voyeuristic eyes of fellow passenger. Here’s a list of new releases for 2012 that should keep you current, occupied, and slightly out of reach from all your fans.

New summer reading: "Lola, California" (excerpt #2)

New summer reading: "Lola, California" (excerpt #2)

Last week, we gave you a first look at the new novel from Edie Meidav, “Lola, California,” called one of “the most anticipated novels of 2011″ by TheMillions.com. This week, a second excerpt: this one a glimpse into the world of stripping, as two female friends navigate that seedy terrain for the first time. To read Meidav is to enter a world of beauty, depth and detail; to hear her speak about her craft is to realize that world is not merely a concoction or a slight of hand — Meidave lives and breathes her art. So if her book tour happens to take her to your neck of the woods, go. (Her tour dates and locations are listed here and after the excerpt below):

Katie Roiphe vs. Steve Almond

Katie Roiphe vs. Steve Almond

Last Sunday, in a big NYTimes think piece, sexual mores writer Katie Roiphe accused Dave Eggers and his fellow male American literary contemporaries of being too into cuddling (like that’s a bad thing):
The younger writers are so self-­conscious, so steeped in a certain kind of liberal education, that their characters can’t condone even their own sexual impulses; they are, in short, too cool for sex. Even the mildest display of male aggression is a sign of being overly hopeful, overly earnest or politically un­toward. For a character to feel himself, even fleetingly, a conquering hero is somehow passé. More precisely, for a character to attach too much importance to sex, or aspiration to it, to believe that it might be a force that could change things, and possibly for the better, would be hopelessly retrograde. Passivity, a paralyzed sweetness, a deep ambivalence about sexual appetite, are somehow taken as signs of a complex and admirable inner life. These are writers in love with irony, with the literary possibility of self-consciousness so extreme it almost precludes the minimal abandon necessary for the sexual act itself, and in direct rebellion against the Roth, Updike and Bellow their college girlfriends denounced. (Recounting one such denunciation, David Foster Wallace says a friend called Updike “just a penis with a thesaurus”).

Documentary vs. fiction … and how to use an inverted tool

Documentary vs. fiction … and how to use an inverted tool

I went to see Marshall Curry’s new documentary, RACING DREAMS, last week. It’s an engaging, intimate film that follows three adolescent kids through one year of Extreme Go-Kart Racing competitions – a sort of warm-up little league to the big time of NASCAR. Annabeth Barnes of Hiddenite, North Carolina, pictured below with her dad, is one of the film’s charming stars. In one pivotal year, we witness her move away from childhood and toward the precipice of adulthood, a subtle and moving transformation.

The two other protagonists, Josh and Brandon, have significant dramatic arcs as well. As I was watching, I couldn’t help but think about the old reliable adage about doc versus fiction storytelling: while fiction film must strive for an organic, complicated reality that allows the audience to ‘buy’ the authenticity of the imagined world, the documentary must strive for an heightened, almost simplified sense of the purely dramatic. Archetypes embraced!