Patton Oswalt, who you may know for his eight-minute filibuster on the subject of Star Wars, is a lifelong fan of Stephen King. As a way of marking the 40th anniversary of the publication of Carrie, he reflects on the roots of his fandom, which trace back to a grade-school reading of The Stand. (Our own Janet Potter reviewed Oswalt’s last book.)
Authors are known to mine material from their personal relationships for their writing, but John Updike found inspiration from his interviews. After journalist William Ecenbarger wrote a profile of Updike in 1983, he found himself the subject of an Updike short story. Pair with: Our review of Updike’s Collected Stories.
In her new book The Sixth Extinction, New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert makes the case that we’re living in the sixth massive die-off of species in our planet’s history. Corraling evidence from zoologists, environmentalists and more, Kolbert argues that human activity is the cause of this latest event. In a review over at Vulture, Kathryn Schulz writes that Kolbert “makes a page-turner out of even the most sober and scientifically demanding aspects of extinction.”
"I do not have experiences in order to write about them. I live in order to live,” Rachel Kushner told New York Magazine. Boris Kachka profiles 2013’s most critically acclaimed author and 2013 Year in Reading participant about what it was like to grow up with hippie parents, riding motorcycles, and her affinity for the art world.
Maxwell’s is closing this week. The Hoboken rock institution has played a vital role in the city’s history for the past few decades, and it’s a cultural relic. The folks at New York Magazine put together an oral history of the place, and recently I wrote about how the venue was not only a product of — but also a victim to — the march of gentrification.
However one of the unsung heroes of the place — and something that I’ll truly miss — is its chicken pot pie, which I ate for the final time last night.
And now we’re back. We’re not post-postmodern, we’re just later modern. All that experimentation in fiction is dead, for another set of reasons. Like p.c. ideology, experimentation is a sort of luxury item. When times get hard, you won’t hear anything about that kind of supersensitivity to people taking offense. And I think what has happened in fiction is that fiction has responded to the fact that the rate of history has accelerated in this last generation, and will continue to accelerate, with more sort of light-speed kind of communications. Those huge, leisurely, digressive, essayistic, meditative novels of the postwar era—some of which were on the best-seller lists for months—don’t have an audience anymore.
- Martin Amis in an interview with David Wallace-Wells published today. Among the other topics covered in the lengthy chat: his latest novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, porn, the decline of America, politics, Brooklyn, and that damn novel he wrote about videogames that nobody will let him live down.