Monday, June 22, 2009

Jack Kerouac

I’d completely forgotten about this: a posthumous voice-over reading from Jack Kerouac in Woody Allen’s Manhattan. The images on screen compete with those that Kerouac’s words are creating in your mind, but it’s still a good sequence.

Two lines in particular that I love from this. The first is when God tells him: “Go thou and be little beneath my sight.” (How perfect is that?) Second is when he considers his present loneliness and looks out to glimpse his inevitable end, and says: “Nothing here but my own tragic hands that once were regarded by a world with sweet attention, but now are left to guide and disappear their own way into the common dark of all our death.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Dave Eggers

The Eggman has a new nonfiction book coming out called Zeitoun. Goo-goo-ga-joob. It follows a Muslim-American family around New Orleans during the Katrina disaster. Sounds inarrestin’.

Eggers recently sat down with Stephen Elliott from The Rumpus for a “long interview,” which you can read here. Enjoy.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut

I unpacked a storage unit on Saturday, which contained a bunch of boxes filled with books. During the process of unloading and organizing these many disparate volumes, I noticed that I own far more books by one author than any other: Kurt Vonnegut. Funny, ‘cause while I do consider myself a great fan of his, I would never guess him to be my favorite; e.g., if I were at a party and someone were to challenge me to list my favorite writers in order (a drunken, unreasonable query to be sure, but bear with me), I likely would rank him fourth or fifth. But on Saturday afternoon, with the evidence to the contrary scattered before me across the living room floor, that notion sure did disintegrate fast.

Anyway, for the hell of it, here’s Part One of an interview with the guy who appears to be my favorite all-time author, which took place in what has to be nineteen-seventy-something. (Notes: 1. The opening is super-cheesy; best to start at around the 2:15 mark, a.k.a. “Chapter 1,” 2. You can link to further installments of this interview from there.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

James Frey v. Oprah

Frey is in town this week to promote his new fiction book, Bright Shiny Morning. Seems like a good time to post this: a video of Frey’s publisher, Nan Talese (Doubleday), giving her account of what happened between the author and Oprah Winfrey. Says Talese here: “I really, really am bothered by the sanctimoniousness of Oprah Winfrey, because it simply does not exist.”

Yowzaa. Now this is her take, so who knows how accurate it is. Regardless, it takes brass ones for a publisher to lower her shoulder and go right at the Big O (non-Oscar-Robertson variety) this way.