Midweek Links from Around the Web (March 1st)
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All the best literary links that are fit to, well, link
Our offices are in Manhattan, so we’re glad these five books about the collapse of New York City are fiction.
SL You were talking about the label of the comic writer. I’ve always felt like all the writers I like could be called comic writers, and it just means that life is funny and tragic.
GS Serious writers are often just the ones suppressing the funny shit.
I really love books that are kind of thin, but sort of heavy. Thin but incredibly intense. Books that seem like they took 10 years to write, but are almost like the notes for a book that is actually impossible.
When those first precious basil leaves sprouted, my first novel — which I had written in a prolonged state of panic, knowing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing — was in the process of being rejected by every agent and editor in New York whose contact information I could wrangle from the internet. I received literally hundreds of rejections. Mostly, they were form letters that I still read carefully for clues, as if upon the 35th reading I would discover some new information beyond what they plainly stated. None of the notes shape-shifted.
Cultural critique is in a tricky spot. Living as we do under an extremist government, it is hard to know what to do with criticism, or how to consume art that does not carry a big rubber stamp declaring it “political.” It’s hard to defend doing anything except being in the streets.