I write about nerdy things, and celebrate those things as a college writing teacher. I live in the mountains and co-founded the production house ADK Mogul.

Posts tagged with ‘lit’

johndarnielle:

Are you a person who would like to hear the first ten minutes or so of the Wolf in White Van audiobook? Then, reader, this post is for you!

I am so excited for this book.

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks: 
   This, on the other hand, was exactly what I was looking for. It was like Guardians of the Galaxy, Serenity and Star Trek. Of course you could probably interchange all of those movies for each other and not really see much of a difference. It was really great fun that went on longer than it needed to, but was—at the end of the day—good, fun science fiction. 

Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks

This, on the other hand, was exactly what I was looking for. It was like Guardians of the Galaxy, Serenity and Star Trek. Of course you could probably interchange all of those movies for each other and not really see much of a difference. It was really great fun that went on longer than it needed to, but was—at the end of the day—good, fun science fiction. 

Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany:
I thought it leaned a little too much on politics rather than telling a story, and I had a hard time reading it. I’m of the belief that a story should be a story, and not exclusively a vehicle for an author’s politics though sometimes that’s what makes good science fiction. That’s true for Battlestar Galactica. I’ve said before that I think good science fiction comments on current cultural issues set in a fantastic world not our own, but this book relies too heavily on this idea and it bogs down the story, the writing, and Delany. Though, of course, I shouldn’t speak for him. I think it’s good that he does this kind of thing, but when I started reading this was a little too much for my taste.

Stars in my Pocket Like Grains of Sand by Samuel R. Delany:

I thought it leaned a little too much on politics rather than telling a story, and I had a hard time reading it. I’m of the belief that a story should be a story, and not exclusively a vehicle for an author’s politics though sometimes that’s what makes good science fiction. That’s true for Battlestar Galactica. I’ve said before that I think good science fiction comments on current cultural issues set in a fantastic world not our own, but this book relies too heavily on this idea and it bogs down the story, the writing, and Delany. Though, of course, I shouldn’t speak for him. I think it’s good that he does this kind of thing, but when I started reading this was a little too much for my taste.

Looking For Alaska by John Green.

I liked this more than The Fault in Our Stars, mostly because it wasn’t really trying to beat you over the head with stuff about death. I felt like it was a little forced in that book, where this seemed more natural. Stuff happens and you feel responsible for it.

Students in my English classes get to choose their main book for the semester, because I think telling students what to read, because the teacher likes it is a great way to make sure they don’t read. Nothing is more alienating than telling someone they have to read something for a grade, but telling them not to read isn’t an option. I have a textbook too, but this choice book is a big part of their final paper. Letting them pick a book that they like, have an interest in also gets them to participate. They can pick anything: comic book, science fiction, memoir, literary fiction or 50 Shades of Grey (and some have picked that book and come up with some great papers about women in the workplace and other things.) They pick the book; we work through some literary criticism worksheets—like formalism, reader-response, and feminism—and come out with a cultural issue to talk about from their book in a research paper.

Last semester, a student did Saga and ended up writing a research paper about mixed race marriages. It also works as a kind of book club and gets me reading things that I normally wouldn’t. So this semester I’m going to use Looking for Alaska, because I think it’s relatable for quite a few freshmen in my composition classes. The characters are away from home for the first time, there are girls, booze, pranks, and responsibility, but most importantly it’s about selfishness—of only thinking about yourself when you’re away from home. It’s a great book to talk about for my English 101.  

David Mitchell on His New Book The Bone Clocks — Vulture:

You could call Mitchell a global writer, I suppose, but that does not quite capture what he is doing. It is closer to say that he is a pangaeic writer, a supercontinental writer. What is for geologists a physical fact—that the world is everywhere interconnected, bound together in a cycle of faulting and folding, rifting and drifting, erosion and uplift—is, for Mitchell, a metaphysical conviction. Immensity alone, he knows, is psychologically and morally risky; it makes our own lives so comparatively insignificant that it can produce fatalism, or depression, or unimpeded self-interest. To counter that, his fiction tries again and again to square the scale of the world with the human scale, down to its smallest and inmost components. The human conscience matters because it leads to action—a captain holds his fire, a free man saves a slave—and human action matters because, if everything is interconnected, everything we do tugs on the web of space and time.

I’m fascinated by this guy. On another note, I wonder why I’m fascinated by writers with the name David. My first (and only) answer is wishful thinking, to somehow be like them, and that’s no good.   

David Mitchell on His New Book The Bone Clocks — Vulture:

You could call Mitchell a global writer, I suppose, but that does not quite capture what he is doing. It is closer to say that he is a pangaeic writer, a supercontinental writer. What is for geologists a physical fact—that the world is everywhere interconnected, bound together in a cycle of faulting and folding, rifting and drifting, erosion and uplift—is, for Mitchell, a metaphysical conviction. Immensity alone, he knows, is psychologically and morally risky; it makes our own lives so comparatively insignificant that it can produce fatalism, or depression, or unimpeded self-interest. To counter that, his fiction tries again and again to square the scale of the world with the human scale, down to its smallest and inmost components. The human conscience matters because it leads to action—a captain holds his fire, a free man saves a slave—and human action matters because, if everything is interconnected, everything we do tugs on the web of space and time.

I’m fascinated by this guy. On another note, I wonder why I’m fascinated by writers with the name David. My first (and only) answer is wishful thinking, to somehow be like them, and that’s no good.   

Author Sean Wilsey on brownstone Brooklyn and the bonanza of Craigslist at Time Out New York.
I’m excited for this book, especially since it seems like this one might give me some guidance on homeownership:

 I bought a three-story, wood-frame, two-family dwelling in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and am preparing it for tenants. Bedford-Stuyvesant, until recently, was, in the words of one of my neighbors, “the ghetto of America” (slogan “Bed-Stuy, do or die”), but is now branded as Clinton Hill, which is branded as Fort Greene, which is branded as “Brownstone Brooklyn.” On two-block Claver Place the smell of ganja wafts most evenings. To the frustration of recent gentrifiers a Guyanese reggae club (Slogan: “Jah is living”) had been operating illegally, packing eight hundred people at twenty dollars a head into a backyard, with a cut, according to another neighbor, going to blind-eye-turning cops. It was here that I found my house and its large detached garage, on a 25-foot-by-127.5-foot lot. As the owner of a pickup truck and a small motorcycle I’ve always lusted after a garage in New York.

I bought the parcel for $710,000 with the help of a 2.25 percent line of credit with Wells Fargo, and began renovations with the intention of cash-out refinancing in six months, after upgrading the interiors and facade. The mortgage and rental numbers suggested I could have my garage for free. I would need to do some serious upgrading to make this happen. The initial appraiser’s report described a bathroom vanity “at the end of its economic life” and was kind in calling the kitchens’ appointments “economy grade.” I visited an appliance store a friend described as having “great prices” but left feeling lied to and gouged. Still, I needed to do something. I wanted the post-renovation apartments to be low maintenance, high quality, and beautiful, because, Jah knows, when things are beautiful they are loved and taken care of. But the more I shopped for the beautiful the more outraged I became.

Author Sean Wilsey on brownstone Brooklyn and the bonanza of Craigslist at Time Out New York.

I’m excited for this book, especially since it seems like this one might give me some guidance on homeownership:

 I bought a three-story, wood-frame, two-family dwelling in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, and am preparing it for tenants. Bedford-Stuyvesant, until recently, was, in the words of one of my neighbors, “the ghetto of America” (slogan “Bed-Stuy, do or die”), but is now branded as Clinton Hill, which is branded as Fort Greene, which is branded as “Brownstone Brooklyn.” On two-block Claver Place the smell of ganja wafts most evenings. To the frustration of recent gentrifiers a Guyanese reggae club (Slogan: “Jah is living”) had been operating illegally, packing eight hundred people at twenty dollars a head into a backyard, with a cut, according to another neighbor, going to blind-eye-turning cops. It was here that I found my house and its large detached garage, on a 25-foot-by-127.5-foot lot. As the owner of a pickup truck and a small motorcycle I’ve always lusted after a garage in New York.

I bought the parcel for $710,000 with the help of a 2.25 percent line of credit with Wells Fargo, and began renovations with the intention of cash-out refinancing in six months, after upgrading the interiors and facade. The mortgage and rental numbers suggested I could have my garage for free. I would need to do some serious upgrading to make this happen. The initial appraiser’s report described a bathroom vanity “at the end of its economic life” and was kind in calling the kitchens’ appointments “economy grade.” I visited an appliance store a friend described as having “great prices” but left feeling lied to and gouged. Still, I needed to do something. I wanted the post-renovation apartments to be low maintenance, high quality, and beautiful, because, Jah knows, when things are beautiful they are loved and taken care of. But the more I shopped for the beautiful the more outraged I became.

No one ever talks about how identifying with something you read might not always be a good thing. Saying “that’s like me” is not always an affirmation — it can be terrifying and make you feel “more fucked-up and Unknown.” Critics and fans alike rhapsodize about identifying with David Foster Wallace’s writing as though it can only be consoling and empowering, and I used to think so too, until I got too close and discovered what may be the most important truth about literature, the true “aesthetic benefit of close reading,” though I doubt the Mellon Foundation would be all that interested in hearing about my discovery, as it is beneficial only in the most cautionary of senses: there is such a thing as reading too closely.

The Smart Set: Reading Wallace Reading - August 18, 2014, via peterwknox

This bit also gets me: 

I only thought I knew what “DFW” meant before. It was fanboy shorthand for the literary icon and hero that is David Foster Wallace, but to Wallace, “DFW” stood for the literary entity known as David Foster Wallace, his writerly persona that existed only on the page, apart from the living-and-breathing Dave Wallace. Wallace satirizes his literary moniker-cum-identity in The Pale King, where he writes “once you’re fixed with a certainnom de plume, you’re more or less stuck with it, no matter how alien or pretentious it sounds to you in your everyday life” (297), but this discomfort with his full name existed long before The Pale King.

Wallace’s initials appear twenty-one times in seventeen books, books ranging from novels to memoirs to literary anthologies to writing guides to philosophy and self-help books, and nearly every “DFW” or “DW” in Wallace’s archive appears next to a passage about creating, or, more precisely, the failure to create. And the “DFW”s that don’t appear alongside gut-wrenching descriptions of arrested creativity accompany withering descriptions of imbalanced, acutely self-conscious mental states, which only adds to the overall impression one gets of Wallace’s mental image of himself as a solipsistic failure, a gifted person who has lost control of his gift and now lives as a prisoner to “DFW” and all of its demands, demands he fears he will never be able to fulfill.

This is a great essay if you ever find yourself trying to cure yourself of thinking too much, or being too obsessive about an idol and reading too much into their life and yours. 

Sir James Jeans, British astronomer and physicist, suggested that the universe was beginning to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Humanists seized on the expression, but it was hardly news. We knew, looking around, that a thought branches and leafs, a tree comes to a conclusion. But the question of who is thinking the thought is more fruitful than the question of who made teh machine, for a machinist can of course wipe his hands and leave, and his simple machine still hums; but if the thinker’s attention strays for a minute, his simplest thought ceases altogether. And, as a I have stressed, the place where we so incontrovertibly find ourselves, whether thought or machine, is at least not in any way simple.

— Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.

I’ve been reading a lot of nature-related things and taking quite a few walks around the town I live in. First Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Randy Lewis’s Actively Adirondack; both are good at making you look around your natural settings, but there’s only so much you can read about the snow and the cold and watching flowers bloom before you start wondering if there’s going to be any human contact. 

It says something about this solitary life here in the Adirondacks where the nature is brilliant and beautiful and idyllic, but it’s that human contact that makes it perfect. I love my partner, the house we share, and the fantastic backyard where we enjoy my birthday grill and bonfires. The walk around this weird town with beautifully designed houses right next to double-wides, the finches that grow in my parents’ plants, and the golf course across the street from their house where some days it’s like having my own personal Central Park, and it’s just me and my Dad.

ADK Mogul Productions Newsletter →

adkmogul:

Hi, everybody!

Way back when we were selling copies of THE DEAL we put together a newsletter for that release, and…we haven’t been back. To be honest, we have been missing in action to a certain degree. Between personal, professional, and creative developments life’s been pretty crazy this year. For example, Tim’s success with his first novel, the release of its sequel is reason to celebrate and reinvigorate, and the EKG that monitors my creative life (It’s alive! No, it’s dead! It’s alive and it’s better than…No, it’s dead on the slab) have made things very hectic for us as individuals.

But we’re back, and like Marvel Comics we’re rebooting with a new first issue within a year.

That’s why we’re bringing the newsletter back. We’ll talk about the things we’re currently working on like the 2014-2015 Lake Placid Film Forum series at the LPCA, The Shared Experience, book-related things, and the occasional personal aside on us and our individual creative lives. 

So, subscribe. We promise we won’t spam you every day. In fact, it’ll come out probably once a month, because—like you—we hate clutter in our inboxes. Amazon does enough of that for all of us.

Thanks and see you in the emails!

 —Dave.

Hey, we’re going to do a monthly newsletter with updates on all the things we’re working on. Like shout outs for work in area productions! Book trailers! Documentaries! Events, and some talk about being creative in the Adirondacks. Check it out if you like. Thanks!