5/9/2011 – Link Roundup

The Nervous Breakdown as an excerpt of Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow.

My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist. He was already married ten years when he first clamped eyes on my mother. In 1968, she was working at the gift-wrap counter in Davison’s downtown when my father asked her to wrap the carving knife he had bought his wife for their wedding anniversary. Mother said she knew that something wasn’t right between a man and a woman when the gift was a blade. I said that maybe it means there was a kind of trust between them. I love my mother, but we tend to see things a little bit differently. The point is that James’s marriage was never hidden from us. James is what I call him. His other daughter, Chaurisse, the one who grew up in the house with him, she calls him Daddy, even now.

You can also check out Tayari’s self-interview and if you’re looking for something even better, check out Roxane Gay’s interview of Tayari Jones in Bookslut.

Barbara Galletly profiles some of the best bookstores in Los Angeles and the best bookstores in New York.

Will Ferrell stars in the upcoming Everything Must Go which is based on Raymond Carver’s short story “Why Don’t You Dance?”

Dear Sugar kills it with another column from The Rumpus.

There’s a line by the Italian writer Carlo Levi that I think is apt here: “The future has an ancient heart.” I love it because it expresses with such grace and economy what is certainly true—that who we become is born of who we most primitively are; that we both know and cannot possibly know what it is we’ve yet to make manifest in our lives. I think it’s a useful sentiment for you to reflect upon now, sweet peas, at this moment when the future likely feels the opposite of ancient, when instead it feels like a Lamborghini that’s pulled up to the curb while every voice around demands you get in and drive.

Friend of HAM, Ray Shea, has an awesome short over at decomP. You should check it out.

Thomas Powers write about Mark Twain at The London Review of Books.

This was Twain before he lost the ability to look away. Down the Mississippi lay the heart of American darkness. When Jim was seized by the Phelps family, who scratched out a living in ‘one of these little one-horse cotton plantations’ along the river, Twain gave up the struggle. He switched books. The last third of Huckleberry Finn is stage-managed for laughs by Tom Sawyer, dropped into the story by authorial fiat. Tom masterminds Jim’s escape from the Phelps plantation according to all the ‘best authorities’ of boys’ literature. Any evening after dark Jim might have walked out of the cabin where he was being held prisoner, but no, Tom insists they must dig him out, and secret letters must be written, and Jim the lonely prisoner must be friends with spiders and snakes, and a whole lot of other nonsensical stuff which we may as well concede is funny in its way and funny to a point. But it is no longer Huckleberry Finn; it is no longer an unflinching tale of the cruelty and wrong of human bondage. ‘In the whole reach of English literature,’ Bernard DeVoto wrote in 1932, ‘there is no more abrupt or more chilling descent.’ He meant from a brave book to a silly book, which DeVoto considered a shocking failure of literary courage on Twain’s part.

If you’re looking for something to read, check out Wigleaf’s shortlist of short stories.

Flywheel Magazine released its first issue.

“Miniature Golf” by S.H. Hall, the newest from fwriction : review

Have you checked out Dr. Hurley’s Snake Oil Cure?

It’s National Short Story month. Matt Bell is doing an awesome job of profiling some great short stories over at his blog.

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