Fall culture preview

Welcome to the Fall 2010 back to reality/school season.  Here are some links to things I worked on over the summer and a brief summing-up of related enthusiasms, and also some descriptions of things that my friends or acquaintances or people I admire have done, that I’m excited about.

1. Tao Lin’s new book is out today.  He recently came and made us a kale salad on Cooking the Books.  This salad contains raw honey and flax oil and hemp seeds.  I didn’t think I would like it at first but I ultimately did … well, I didn’t LIKE it so much as I was intrigued by the different flavors and textures and ultimately felt satisfied.  This is the tritest metaphor in the world for how I felt about Tao’s book, anyway, people who dismiss his work out of hand (these people = me a few months ago) should check themselves.

2. Pippilotti Rist has a new show up at Luhring Augustine starting Sept. 11 that features “Rist-designed wallpaper and a handmade chandelier crafted from a metal skeleton” in addition to video.  I like to think of Rist’s work when I feel hopeless about life.  It’s playful and magical and sexy and funny and honest.  I have loved her since Bennett and I stumbled across I Am A Victim Of This Song during a school field trip.  For years after this we would imitate her version of the Chris Isaak classic “Wicked Game,” the part at the end where she’s screaming “NO IIIIIII DON’T WANT TO FALL IN LOVE! WITH YOU!”

3.  SEASON 2 of Cooking the Books, coming soon, will have a new open (a controversial thing for any TV show, but I think we pulled it off) and will feature super exciting people like Jennifer Egan, Marcy Dermansky, Tao Lin, and many of the other exciting people who’ve just written a book, speaking of which

4. I interviewed Jonathan Franzen for Goodreads and cleared up some things about marriage and novels and birdwatching that I had been wondering about.  I had wanted to ask more prying questions about the characters in Freedom but a) that’s dumb and b)I don’t actually want to think about the idea that they’re not real people.

5. I have an essay about pet early 20th century memoirist Mary Maclane in the new issue of Bitch (print only so buy it and support it).  I wrote about writing this essay and how I feel about it now here. (How enticing.)

6.  Some other stuff.  I’ll keep you posted.  I have been reading a lot of books and feeling very enthusiastic about all of them, and I don’t think it’s my upbeat mood that’s making them seem good (at all), so probably it’s the case that there are a lot of great books new and old to be read right now.  I actually joined Goodreads and have mostly been too lazy to post reviews but here’s one of the ones I did post, of Sisters By A River by Barbara Comyns (I ordered all her other books immediately after finishing it; the title Sisters By A River doesn’t do this book justice at all but I can’t wait to start Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead).  Other books I am looking forward to reading, some of which were even written in this century, include Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas, Drinking At The Movies by Julia Wertz, and The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead.

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