Oh, this was so necessary. What’s That Book is a website “founded by former Google Answers Researcher ‘Juggler,’” at which you, dear readers, can get real people to sleuth around for the identity of that book you almost-kind-of-sort-of remember from way back. You provide all the details you can muster, and the What’s That Book people do the rest. For free.
It’s also pretty fascinating to read about what other people are looking for, and the details they remember.
4) Meeting Koch in person, tonight, February 13, the night before Valentine’s Day at SMITH and Sutra Lounge’s “Exorcise Your Ex” party, a night of writing, reading, drinking, and dancing on. It goes from 7-10pm. Bring your laptop (charged) or journal and come write and play with us. We’ll have lots of drink specials. And if it snows? Even more drink specials. Trust us.
5)Love is a Mixed Tape, a new memoir by Rob Sheffield about the 22 mixed tapes that defined his love and his “noisy, juicy, sparkly life” with his wife, Renée Crist, who died suddenly from a pulmonary embolism in 1997.
6) Love Lost Readings an evening of anti-Valentine’s stories presented by 826NYC with Jonathan Ames, Starlee Kine, Leo Allen, and Andy Selsberg, contributor to The Believer and GQ. It’s free and takes place at the Altoids Chocolate Shoppe at 350 Bleecker St. in NYC.
7)Love, the album of remixed Beatles songs that came out last year. It was a monster hit. I was skeptical. Then someone played it at a dinner party this past weekend and I realized: it’s amazing.
The Greatest American Love Story Ever. From This American Life’s archived What Is This Thing Called Love episode, Sarah Vowell’s segment on June Carter and Johnny Cash.
So why does this warrant a blog? Well, a couple of reasons…
First, Americans really haven’t had the chance to read many works from those states that make up President Bush’s Axis of Evil because, until recently, a publisher could have faced serious penalties, including fines and even jail time for “translating such works or ‘enhancing their value’ by editing them.”
Luckily, the government decided to take a chill pill (much to my delight) and the book, which contains 35 translated works from writers living countries like Iran, Syria, and Cuba is now available online.
Second, according to an article in The Christian Science Monitor, which refers to both Literature from the Axis of Evil and Other Enemy Nations and Words Without Borders, there’s a growing effort to bring “more global literature” to our shores—pretty sweet since the same article notes that “less than 3 percent of all books published in English worldwide are translations.”
Talk about a literary revolution. Looks like we’ll be getting more stories to share on SMITH sooner rather than later.
What are you doing the day before Valentine’s Day? Come and pour out some prose about old flings and flames at SMITH and Sutra Lounge’s “Exorcise Your Ex” party, an experimental combo of writing, reading, drinking, and dancing on Tuesday, February 13. At 7pm you’ll type or scribble about love gone bad as a DJ spins mellow music and a bartender mixes yummy drinks. At 8:30 you can opt to stand up and share your hilarious, horrifying, filthy, tragic, or just plain cathartic stories from the ex files. It’s not a “story slam” (we’re all winners in the game of “ex”), but a few lucky ducks who read will be randomly chosen to win sex toys from Babeland. We’ll have drink specials, as well as a special guest appearance from The World Tour Compatibility Test writer Elizabeth Koch. Bring your laptop or journal and drop in anytime.
Silent, Awkward—and Reeking of Royalty By Earl Adams
A decade ago, when Princess Diana was still alive and in the midst of her ignoble divorce proceedings, I happened to find myself in the lobby of the Victoria Albert Museum, London, nursing a crushing hangover. My goal was to find the museum’s Frank Lloyd Wright Rooms improbably disassembled and transported there, pine panel and all, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
A frowsy desk attendant was guiding me through a large incomprehensible map when she suddenly gasped, paled considerably, and drooped into a messy curtsey. At my side, looming large, was Diana: tall, beautiful and heavily made up. She had skinny long feet and big equestrian hands. The Princess leaned in and asked the attendant for a Mr. So-and-So who was to give her a tour “of the rooms where the benefit will be.” Mr. So-and-So was dutifully summoned and there, waiting his arrival, the three of us stood, silent, awkward and, in my case, reeking of gin.
I was convinced at the time (and how right I was), that the Princess should, like all good troubled regal personages, move to Manhattan where the living would be easy and the press relatively unobtrusive. Cursing my stutter-inducing hangover, I saw my opportunity here was fleeting as a mole-like nervous wreck of a museum attendee was rapidly hotfooting it in our direction. I turned and blurted, “Look, you really should move to New York. It would be so much easier for you there…” Before I could continue to make my case, the Princess was drawn away but she did turn back to acknowledge me as she went off. We locked eyes. She cocked her head to one side and gave me that, “I love you, get away from me” smile.
There’s a small piece worth larger consideration on Salon, co-written by a SMITH contributing editor Alex “The Kid” Koppelman and Rebecca “I heart hate mail” Traister, about a couple of bloggers who were just fired by the Edwards campaign. It seems that Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan, felt the wrath of right-wing bloggers for statements they had previously made on their respective own blogs. According to Salon:
A statement by the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, which called Marcotte and McEwan “anti-Catholic vulgar trash-talking bigots,” and an accompanying article on the controversy in the New York Times this morning, put extra pressure on the campaign. This isn’t the first Internet-related misstep for the Edwards campaign, which had been making an effort to reach out to the netroots but has found its popularity dropping in a straw poll done on the landmark liberal blog Daily Kos.
When everything is public, and so often personal, it seems inevitable that your words will come back and haunt you (somehow) if you’re around long enough. And if you’re a blogger who doesn’t have much in your archive that’s got spunk and spirit and a touch of controversy, who, really, is going to keep reading you? Says Koppelman: “I was talking to one prominent blogger today who believes that in the Facebook generation, 80 percent of people will be unemployable if you judge them based on what they’ve got online.”
Speaking of Facebook, the site’s charging a buck for little virtual gifts you can award to your friends. TechCrunch predicts it’ll be a huge moneymaker. I say social networking is going to the dogs.
Lately things around here have been either really short (six-word memoirs) or really long (an interview with Iraq War vet Herold Noel.). Rachel Kramer Bussel’s just-posted interview with David Matthews, author of Ace of Spades, falls firmly on the side of long. We love to be able to publish stories in this medium, a platform that allows us to go be expansive when the piece demands it.
Here’s her interview with Matthews. And here’s an excerpt from his potent new memoir, one that Bussel says is, “by turns shocking, daring, academic, and humorous, a memoir, cultural history, and Matthews’s literary paean to, as he puts it … ‘those lost and lonely words that we’ve somehow decided we don’t need anymore.’ ”
Powell’s Books likes Kramer Bussel’s handiwork, too. The world-famous lit hive linked to her interview from its world-famous book blog. If you’re a book geek, and many us around here are (especially Memoirville editor Rachel Fershleiser), this is like taking the gold at the interview Olympics. So to Rachel Kramer Bussel we say: thanks and congrats and keep writing.