William T. Vollmann’s Carbon Ideologies

I spent a good part of my summer reading these books. As always, Vollmann transformed my understanding and thought process. His nonfiction always examines the observational and subjective minds behind the decision making process. In this instance, the focus is on humanity’s crippling inability to address climate change. Cynical but essential reading.

 

“Throughout the books, Vollmann addresses a hypothetical future reader—one from a future when climate change has made life beyond difficult. These books apologize to that reader. Vollmann speculates about the reader’s hardship and tries to explain the creature comforts of cooking with natural gas, cooling a house with an air conditioner, and flying around the world to write a book about global warming. Vollmann openly acknowledges, “I myself, an American born in the mid-20th century, enjoyed the best life that carbon could give.” Vollmann claims that reducing the demand of energy had been our only hope—one that we failed to live out. This points to the fact that we humans are more attuned to the short term than the long, more concerned with the local weather than the earth’s climate, the community we associate with than the strangers of the human race. Vollmann points out that after all the technological improvement, the source of all these problem is human nature—a cynical but honest assessment of our values and notion of progress.”

You can find the rest at Brooklyn Rail

 

Wolfgang Hilbig’s The Females

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I can’t wait to start this. Hilbig’s The Females (translated by Isabel Fargo Cole) will be coming out this November (2018) from Two Lines Press, who regularly publishes amazing translated works. A few weeks ago, I read The Tidings of the Trees, which reminded me of the psychological isolation in Markson’s Wittgenstein’s Mistress. Interested in how this matches up as I am new to Hilbig. Thanks to Veronica Esposito and the team at Two Lines for sending me the ARC.

Summer of 2018

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My summer of 2018 reading list:

  • Paul Beatty – The Sell Out
  • Wolfgang Hilbig – The Tidings of the Trees (Finished)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin – A Wizard of Earthsea (Finished)
  • Min Jin Lee – Pachinko (Finished)
  • Fiona Maazel – A Little More Human (Started)
  • Malcolm McNeill – Tetra (Finished)
  • Marie NDiaye – All My Friends
  • William Vollmann – Carbon Ideologies (No Immediate Danger and No Good Alternative)
  • Richard Weiner – The Game for Real

Meyer Wolfshiem in The Great Gatsby

An interesting read!

Minnesota English Journal Online

Meyer Wolfshiem in The Great Gatsby

by Elisa Malinovitz

[pdf version here: Malinovitz-Wolfshiem in Gatsby]

Introduction:

The Great Gatsby is included in the Common Core exemplars for literature, it’s rare to find a high school or university in the United States that doesn’t teach it, making it one of the most analyzed novels in modern American literature. Students examine and often re-examine the novel at different times throughout their lives, yet there are subtleties in the book of meaning and importance which escape the attention of many analytic reviews. Seemingly lacking is a discussion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stereotypical depiction of his one Jewish character, Meyer Wolfshiem.

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Jacob Singer Reviews The Futures Industry Edited by Sherryl Vint

Chicago Literati

The future has become a site of crisis, both materially – in the looming threats of climate change, environmental and species destruction, and imminent collapses of the global financial market—and in our capacity to imagine the future otherwise.

–Sherryl Vint

The unpredictability of the 2008 financial crisis, Brexit vote, and Trump presidency has left many doubting traditional prophetic tools—like exit polls and economic theories. Few experts predicted such turn of events. Political reports and journalists seem no better than the imaginations of our best speculative fiction writers. The journalists, many of whom want to keep working relationships with economic and political players, fail to question the status quo or are simply not given the opportunity to address big questions. Meanwhile, fiction writers are free to gaze into the future in an attempt to predict how science and technology will influence our intellectual understanding of reality and shape the human experience.

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Most Anticipated Small Press Books of 2018!

A great list of books coming out in 2018. Thanks to John Madera for curating this.

BIG OTHER

Like every year, there’s much to dread about 2018, and to fight against, but, fortunately there’s much to look forward to, including powerful works of art from small presses. Below you’ll find the small press books I’m most excited to see published this year. Following this, you’ll find lists from stellar writers Kate Angus, Kurt Baumeister, Alex Behr, Jeff Bursey, Lisa Chen, Tobias Carroll, Brian Evenson, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Meghan Lamb, Janice Lee, Michael Noll, David Leo Rice, Kevin Sampsell, Jason Teal, Dan Wickett, James Yeh, and Leni Zumas. Thanks to them, and thanks, too, to stellar writers Lynn Crawford, Robert Dean, Annie DeWitt, Joe Pan, Dawn Raffel, Jacob Singer, Joanna C. Valente, and Marjorie Welish for giving me the heads-up on other books.

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Necronom by Jacob Singer

I’m excited to share “Necronom,” a short story that has been published at Chicago Literati for their Halloween issue. It is a retelling of one of my favorite horror movies from the perspective of the villain. Can you guess the movie?

Chicago Literati

We persist. We sit quietly and wait for the rabbits. Hunger is a real pain that deeply effects our whole body. The smell of rabbits is everywhere and it drives us crazy. We can taste them, our mouths salivating. We persist because we have no choice. Trapped in this labyrinth, we think and wait and think and wait. All of this imposes patterns on us.

Lo! A rabbit.

Its heathen speech seems very alien to us. We sneak and attack. What once was undetached rabbit parts becomes stages of rabbithood before our very eyes. Here rabbit. There rabbit. Fragments. The hunger subsides. And with that, we return to the labyrinth in search of mother and our sisters. We persist.

We have no words for our crude beginning, but we are prone to think of it. Cursed we roam the labyrinth that imposes patterns on our understanding. There is this way…

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