Thursday, September 8, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
book group 55: September 12-22, 2011 (10 days)
led by Courtney Zoffness
- Courtney Zoffness
Many of the classic love stories we most revere revolve around ill-fated courtships. Romeo & Juliet. Anna Karenina. While storytelling styles may have evolved since Shakespeare and Tolstoy, the themes have endured. “How to Be the Other Woman” by Lorrie Moore and “Love & Obstacles” by Aleksandar Hemon both follow characters down misguided paths to intimacy and affection. As a group, we’ll explore how Moore and Hemon, two vastly different but widely acclaimed contemporary authors, use a range of narrative techniques to create drama and impact our sympathies. What’s the effect of Moore’s second-person point of view—one that implicates us in her heroine’s infidelity? How does the threat of war in Bosnia reflect in the sexually desperate young boy’s misadventures in Hemon’s “Love and Obstacles”? And what compels us, despite the cynicism buried even in these stories’ titles, to read on?
To enroll, go HERE.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Consider these questions after reading THIS.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Read it here.
Monday, April 25, 2011
You can read the entire (short) interview here.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
You can read more about this contemporary dilemma here.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
From the drama of chapter one in which Chris Jaynes, the only black male professor at a small liberal arts college, is denied tenure for refusing to sit on the diversity committee, to said professor's seafaring adventure through the South Seas, to his discovery of the only-ever uncolonized species—primitive natives so dark that even their teeth are black, Pym offers no shortage of entertainment and surprise.
I saw Mat give a reading from this novel a few weeks ago at SoHo's McNally-Jackson, where he discussed the challenges that dragged the writing of Pym on for a decade. Among them: How could he imbed literary criticism in a novel without sacrificing the story's enjoyability? His solution, in part, seems to be through humor and narrative drama. In fact, one of the successes of Pym is that it can be understood and appreciated on multiple levels—even for those of us who've never read Poe's Pym.
Toni Morrison in Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, says that “no early American writer is more important to the concept of American Africanism than Poe.” Mat Johnson ensures that this piece of Poe's reputation will be as well canonized as his beguiling "Raven."
Thursday, March 17, 2011
The layout is lovely! Peep it here (pg. 116).
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Jennifer Egan, A Visit From the Goon Squad
Jonathan Franzen, Freedom
David Grossman, To the End of the Land
Hans Keilson, Comedy in a Minor Key
Paul Murray, Skippy DiesMy vote is for Goon Squad, despite how much I enjoyed Freedom, and despite how much I admire David Grossman. My pick is mostly informed by admiration for Egen's playful and contemporary text ... but partially informed by this new data. Can you believe these pie charts?!