Indie publisher Electric Literature recently launched their new website on WordPress. “You’ll see that on the new website the look is very vibrant and positive and is pulled through every article and every space,” said executive director Halimah Marcus, who chatted with us in an interview at The WordPress.com Blog. The design is modern and reader-friendly, and icons — inspired by electrical symbols — reflect its community’s love for books, writing, and ideas. Ready to explore the new Electric Lit? Dive into these five recent reads.
Hannah McGregor explores the history of book consumption, the invention of “bookishness,” and the outrage over Marie Kondo’s suggestion that books are just things.
We could pull apart the xenophobia, racism, orientalism, and classism at work in these critiques all day, but I want to focus on how self-identified bookish people reacted to the association of books with clutter, the demotion of these objects from sacred to banal — or, maybe more accurately, the insistence that they are no more sacred than any other objects.
Sandra Newman writes openly about financial insecurity — being homeless, being perennially broke, and writing while poor.
I’ve still almost never had a room of my own with a door that locks, as Woolf says I must have to write. Until I was 40, I never earned the minimum amount Woolf tells me I must earn — £500 a year, or roughly $40,000 in 2019 dollars. In some years, I don’t earn that now. I still think of anyone with no realistic fear of homelessness as rich.
But I’ve written eight books.
Frances Yackel interviews author Dave Eggers about his new novel, The Parade; economic imperialism; and privacy and the future of social media.
Younger people, those under 20, aren’t using Facebook at all, and that’s a good indicator for the planet. There is, rightfully, almost universal distrust of Facebook, because their culture is not one built on trust or respect for users, and yet billions still willingly give the company much of their most personal information. High schoolers, though, have altered their behavior radically — they want to communicate with friends, but directly, using WhatsApp, for example. The movement is away from public sharing and into more private communication. Consumers’ behavior and preferences will drive what happens with social media in the next five-ten years, and I dearly hope the teens will lead it all into more sane territory.
At “The Blunt Instrument,” the site’s advice column for writers, a Denver-based writer named Ben asks if there’s a correct way to write a book, and how and when to approach a publisher. Guest columnist John Cotter responds.
You’ll notice there’s one thing I haven’t talked about so far, and that’s actually writing your book. This is the part of the business that happens alone, in the quiet of your home or the library or a coffee shop. You don’t have to work on your book every day, but if you never work on your book, then your book will never be written. About this part of the process I’ll give you one piece of advice: writing is like dreaming. What I mean is you don’t fall asleep the moment your head touches the pillow each night, and even if you do you don’t start dreaming right away. Give yourself twenty minutes or whatever to dally, strike out with false starts, read a little poetry, play a Cat Power song or two while you stare at the tree outside. It takes time.
In this reading list, Marina Benjamin, author of Insomnia, discusses seven unreliable narrators in literature, from Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment to Roland Torpor’s The Tenant.
Ferrante is wonderful at women falling apart, painting the inside of their heads as crazed thoughts whirr, and almost convincing you with their bizarre rationalizations. Taut, tense, and full of very human pathos,Days of Abandonment is a superb study in altered states of being.
Looking for more to read? Visit Electric Literature.