June 4, 2013 |
George Plimpton's greatest story was his own life. There was very little the renowned journalist, writer and longtime editor of the literary journal the Paris Review didn't try. During a career that spanned the second half of the 20th century, Plimpton was a quarterback for the Detroit Lions, pitched at Yankee Stadium, sparred with Archie Moore, played the triangle with the New York Philharmonic, performed stand-up comedy, flipped on a trapeze and...
April 2, 2013 |
Steven Soderbergh plans to direct a 12-hour adaptation of John Barth's 1960 novel "The Sot-Weed Factor. " The book is a 768-page epic -- a satirical epic -- set on a Maryland tobacco farm in the 18th century. “I was going to do it as a movie, but I couldn't figure it out. So now I've had it adapted as 12 one-hour episodes,” Soderbergh tells Entertainment Weekly. The adaptation was done, at least in part, by James Greer, the novelist and former Guided by Voices bassist who lives in Los Angeles when not on tour with his band Détective . In 2011, in a piece about Barth for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Greer provided a window into his work on the project.
March 29, 2013 |
George Plimpton knew the score. A generation or so ago, the late Paris Review editor developed what he called the "Small Ball Theory" of sports writing, which posits "a correlation between the standard of writing about a particular sport and the ball it utilizes - that the smaller the ball, the more formidable the literature. " There are, he explained, "superb books about golf, very good books about baseball, not many good books about football or soccer, very few good books about basketball and no good books at all about beach balls.
January 3, 2013 |
Poet and journalist Dana Goodyear perches on a swivel chair in the second-floor writing studio behind her Venice home, the windows cranked open to a gentle ocean breeze. Low rooftops and tall palm trees stretch to the horizon, and Goodyear points to an anomaly just across the alley - a faded surfboard tossed up and forgotten atop a neighbor's single-story house. Such juxtapositions appeal to Goodyear, a New Yorker magazine staff writer. And while the misplaced surfboard doesn't make an appearance in her new book of poems, "The Oracle of Hollywood Boulevard" (Norton, $25.95)
November 13, 2011 |
Pulphead Essays John Jeremiah Sullivan Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 384 pp., $16 paper Reading a great essay is like seeing a writer's brain working, ideas in motion caught by a flash of lightning. It's like sitting down with a smart college friend for a conversation that jumps and leaps and connects, in which you have to only nod and say "wow" from time to time. This is a trick, of course - essays are anything but extemporaneous - but John Jeremiah Sullivan's first collection, "Pulphead," has it all. It is thoughtful, electric and alive.
September 25, 2011 |
Train Dreams A Novella Denis Johnson Farrar, Straus & Giroux: 116 pp., $18 It's a curious thing about Denis Johnson: For a writer I admire as much as (if not more than) any of his contemporaries, his books rarely come without faults. This may be most true of his Vietnam epic "Tree of Smoke," which never quite coalesces into something more than a pastiche, despite having won a 2007 National Book Award. Yet it also marks earlier novels, including the often brilliant "Resuscitation of a Hanged Man," an investigation of God as "the chief conspirator" that ultimately loses track of its internal logic, and "The Stars at Noon," which, taking place in 1980s Nicaragua, veers in and out of a beautiful derangement.