Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest, Here I Am, has received decidedly mixed reviews, and with good reason. While there are flashes of insight here and there, the struggles of the central family are fairly trite, and considering that Foer is regarded as one of the foremost literary novelists writing today, the prose is riddled with clichés. Here is the first installment of my running list documenting the most cringeworthy lines, from pretentious pontificating about the fact that “aloneness isn’t loneliness” (duh) to awkwardly sexist characterizations of teenage girls. Continue reading →
Heather at Go Fug Yourself posted an absolutely hilarious MST3K-style takedown of Vanity Fair’s dumb, sexist, Australia-stereotype-filled article about Margot Robbie. Don’t even bother reading the original — just read this.
Fun fact: Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer are longtime pen pals. Fun fact #2: Jonathan Safran Foer uses Hotmail to carry on this literary correspondence. The rest of the article is actually very interesting, but the Hotmail factoid made us laugh so hard. (via Nytimes)
If you missed it last week, The Millions rounded up the most anticipated fiction books of the second half of the year. One highlight: the brilliant Michael Chabon is coming out with a new book! This week, they have a corresponding list for non-fiction.
At the Atlantic, read about how researchers have used sentiment analysis to analyze the emotional arcs of stories. It’s amazing how coherently many of the generated graphs hew to classic arcs identified by the researchers. (“Man in a Hole,” for example, sounds pretty much like the one we are all told to write in craft classes: things get worse, then finally they get better.)
Tracy Morgan returned to SNL after his accident last year, and this interview he did with the Times is beautifully emotional.