Read Alexander Theroux

“When people call up Rush Limbaugh and say, ‘It’s an honor to speak to you,’ I want to shoot myself.” – interview with Colin Marshall on The Marketplace of Ideas

“Her only loyalty seemed to be what she compiled in her witchy journal, her daybook listing the crimes of others against her, forgetting her own poisonous gossip that she always gave to the new man in her life of all the previous ones.” – Laura Warholic

I am currently indulging in Mr. Theroux’s evocative, witty, sometimes incredibly embittered prose. There are many varied books to choose from. Four novels: Three Wogs, Darconville’s Cat, An Adultery, and Laura Warholic. Monographs on the artists Edward Gorey and Al Capp. A book of poetry, a doctoral thesis on Samuel Beckett’s language (unfortunately not readily available), fables, as well as an upcoming book on Estonia. The two books on colors: The Primary Colors: Three Essays and The Secondary Colors: Three Essays, are compelling compendiums. This is how the 108-page mediation on the color orange begins:

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Reader Rage, Henry James Hate

Henry and Edith Wharton (seated) at the turn of the century. The man on the right is covering a sign that says, "Don't begrudge them their art."

To start, we have two simmering, searing proclamations:

In A Temple of Texts, William Gass quoted Arnold Bennett’s book, Literary Taste:

…your taste has to pass before the bar of the classics. That is the point, if you differ with a classic, it is you who are wrong, and not the book. (6)

In the comments section of a wonderful article, “Henry James and the Joys of Binge Reading,” by Charles-Adam Foster-Simard at The Millions; a person called Bill had this to say:

Thanks so much, Ward, for explaining why James isn’t really worth reading. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of all those other neurotic feedback-dodgers who write impossibly long sentences, like Faulkner and Woolf. These folks aren’t artists so much as mentally disturbed loners, incapable of engaging in the rich, healthy social contact that Flesch and his short, simple sentences give us. I plan to go to every bookstore now and throw away all the copies of James I can find, since it’s insane that this self-absorbed reader-hater is still in print. I can’t understand it: it’s almost as if bookstores are trying, doubtless because of their own neuroses, to create the illusion that there are people out there who like to read James. But of course that can’t be true, not with someone who suffered from a prolonged lack of feedback.

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William Gass at The Millions

William Gass is included in the “A Year in Reading” feature at The Millions. He writes about Rose Macaulay’s Pleasure of Ruins. An excerpt:

Macaulay does everything well, but scarcely does one of her pages pass than she has quoted from another and let those words fall into her own concoction like just the right addition to the dish. This quality – to let her work make way for another writer’s beauty – she manifests as early as page one. She has mentioned that among the pleasures of ruins must be some vindictive ones. I still remember the kid in kindergarten who kicked over my house of blocks, and his glee at my distress and his accomplishment. In the sentence and the quotation that follows she reveals her own love of lists, but I also have to marvel at the lovely dance of ideas, of past time elevating the present, that takes place upon the floor of her prose.

Read the rest HERE. And check out entries by Stephen Elliott, David Shields, Nick Flynn, Rosecrans Baldwin, Dana Goodyear, Victor LaValle, and Reif Larsen.

Big Other Contributors’ News #4

Lily Hoang is now an editor at Tarpaulin Sky.
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I WILL SMASH YOU, the documentary film by Luca Dipierro and Michael Kimball, will be screened in Baltimore on Friday, November 20. The screening is part of A Shattered Wig Night. There will be great readings by Blaster Al Ackerman and Ingrid Burrington, and loud music by Sweatpants. The place is The14 Karat Cabaret, at 218 West Saratoga St., downtown Baltimore. The time is 9pm. Little Burn Films is HERE.
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Check out John Madera‘s reviews:

Gert Jonke’s The System of Vienna: From Heaven Street to Earth Mound Square (The Millions)
Jackie Corley’s The Suburban Swindle (The Collagist)
The Delicacy and Strength of Lace: Letters Between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright (Word Riot)

He interviewed Chelsea Martin at The Rumpus HERE:

His story, “How to Be Happy and Free” can be found in Opium Magazine: The Mania Issue. The issue features Sean Landers, Jonathan Baumbach, Dawn Raffel, Anne Ray, Aaron Garretson, Davin Malasarn, B.R. Smith, Melinda Hill, John Madera, Catherine Sharpe, Wendy Duren,  Jamie Iredell, Ryan Boudinot, Ben Greenman, B.K. Evenson, Sean Carman, Nick Bredie, Matt Briggs, E. Loic Leuschner, Blake Butler, Matthew Simmons, Lindsay Mound, Je Banach, F.J. Bergmann, Kyle Davis, Lydia Fitzpatrick, Clark Hays, Kevin Leahy, Lisa A. Levy, Aimee Mepham, Sean Murphy, Brett Rosenblatt, Dean Young, Erin Berkowitz, Kathleen Rooney, Elisa Gabbert, CM Evans, Graham Roumieu, Jessy Randall, and Ben Towle. Plus, an interview with Jonathon Keats!

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As of November 30, Kim Chinquee is the new fiction and nonfiction editor of elimae. Writers should make their submissions in those fields to Kim beginning on November 30 at kimchinquee (at) gmail (dot) com. Her first issue as editor will be published January, 2010. She’s also guest-editing a flash fiction issue of Mississippi Review.

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Greg Gerke‘s “We Will Not Be Coming to Your Pancakes” is at Everyday Genius and “Underground Bliss” is at Writers’ Bloc (Rutgers).
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J.A. Tyler is up on Apostrophe Cast (he reads from his forthcoming novella, A Man of Glass & All the Ways We Have Failed). Then read his interview with Guy Ben Brookshire HERE.
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John Dermot Woods had a comic featured at Everyday Genius. Read it HERE.
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Ryan W. Bradley has two poems “June 2006 on the Trans Alaska Pipeline” and “Marlboro” in the new issue of Poets & Artists. Check them out HERE.