September 18, 2015KR BlogBlogShort Takes/Mixed Tape

Mix tape: Mira Jacob’s speech, book festivals, long lists, short lists

Author Mira Jacob tried to give a speech for Publisher’s Weekly this week. When the sound system gave out, she stood on a chair and shouted. When no one heard her, she published that speech with Buzzfeed. It’s articulate, sad, and funny, like her novel A Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing. On publishing more writers of color, she says: “It is your job. Get in here. Be a part of this. You will ignore us at your own peril — to the industry’s peril.”

By now you’ve read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s cover story for The Atlantic, “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” He followed up with a short piece about the trouble with finding the right words to describe “mass incarceration.” “The Gray Waste,” a term from D&D would have been more appropriate, he says. He also released a conversation with Jeffrey Goldberg, and the first draft of his article in full, expressing hope that it would be useful to other writers.

After you finish the piece, you might check out Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s “Beg Borrow Steal,” which we published in KRO a few weeks ago.

“A key metaphor for alcoholism is unquenchable thirst,” Michelle Dean examines alcoholism, female authors, and memoir in this sharp piece for The New Republic.

Catapult published a new essay from Alexander Chee about subletting and chandeliers.

“You can protect your thumbs only by staying below the surface of the frog pond: don’t stick your head up or croak too loudly, and, you are assured, as long as you don’t do anything “wrong” – a shifting category – nothing bad will happen to you. Until it does.” Margaret Atwood on freedom in The Guardian.

This week in pseudonyms: Alex Shephard gets to the bottom of the secret Pynchon novel, which isn’t secret or by Pynchon but is oddly fascinating.

No one has figured out who Elena Ferrante is yet, try as they might. Grateful to Dayna Tortorichi who, in an article for n+1, introduces us to the Italian word “frantumaglia.” Ann Goldstein translates this word in the Europa editions of Ferrante’s books as “a shattering.”

George Saunders asks Ben Marcus, “What is the American short story doing well? Where is it failing or lacking? Did you come away with any sense of what the American short story is these days?” Marcus answers this, and other long, smart Saunders questions in Granta.

Rebecca Solnit addresses the question, “Should Virginia Woolf have had children?” during an infuriating Q&A, now in the October issue of Harper’s.

For The Cut, Heather Havrilesky answers the question, “Should I just give up on my writing?” Over at Electric Literature, Elisa Gabbert counsels a writer who wonders, “How do you know when your book is finished?

Headed to a festival tomorrow? This weekend is the weekend of the Brooklyn Book Festival, the NY Art Book Fair at PS-1, and the LA Podcast Festival. If you’re not attending a festival this weekend, you can always visit a few bookstores, like Stephen Sparks.

So many lists out this week. Some long, some short. The Rona Jaffe Foundation honored six writers, and we’re proud Amanda Rea was one of them. The Man Booker shortlist went up, and so did the National Book Award longlist for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Enjoy the weekend. Here’s a dog under a faucet to kick it off.