I Love My Blogroll
At Xujun Eberlein's Inside Out China, there's an inspiring discussion of Pamela Erens' first novel, THE UNDERSTORY. I'm just crazy about this novel. I just finished it and I'm considering starting from the beginning and reading it again, just to see how the hell she put this thing together. What I can't fathom is how she managed to use sustained metaphors to glue the story together, but nothing screams, "I'm a metaphor!" Erens achieves several subtle effects with this book. I highly recommend it. And I recommend Inside Out China too, for a fresh take on Chinese culture and politics, as well as literature.
Mary Akers is understandably excited about her new book, RADICAL GRATITUDE AND OTHER LIFE LESSONS LEARNED IN SIBERIA. The message is awe-inspiring, and the format--one person's fictionalization of another person's true story--is fascinating to me. I look forward to reading this. Don Capone reviews the book on his groovy blog, Capone's Hit List.
Tao Lin's relentless layering of self-questioning, metafiction, autopromotion, and literary scab-picking never fails to intrigue me, sometimes moving me to tears. You either grok it or you don't. I feel like an old lady getting a peek into the future of literature, the way literature will be after I am dead. It's not a bad feeling. Check out the February post, THE GAY STEPDAD. I can't seem to link directly, you'll have to scroll.
Steve Almond's kid is cute as hell.
Janice Erlbaum also has a new book, another must-read, HAVE YOU FOUND HER, about her experiences volunteering at the very shelter she lived in as a teenager. The book is an amazing feat of both writing and living. She found a special kid at the shelter, became dangerously attached to her, then rode a yearlong rollercoaster as the kid went in and out of hospitals. I won't give away what happens, you have to read it. She's been blogging about her promotion gigs, and trying to balance them with the part she actually loves more...writing the next book. As a reader, I want her to write the next book too. She's one of my favorite voices ever.
And at Writers in Profile, Kelly Spitzer is talking to writers and editors about slush, the "necessary evil." It's worth reading, maybe as an exercise in tough self-love.