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Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a sick sense of humour? What is John Updike's deal anyway? And who won the Adult Video News' Female Performer of the Year Award the same year Gwyneth Paltrow won her Oscar? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in his new book of hilarious non-fiction. For this collection, David Foster Wallace immerses himself in the three-ring circus that is the presidential race in order to document one of the most vicious campaigns in recent history. Later he strolls from booth to booth at a lobster festival in Maine and risks life and limb to get to the bottom of the lobster question. Then he wheedles his way into an L.A. radio studio, armed with tubs of chicken, to get the behind-the-scenes view of a conservative talkshow featuring a host with an unnatural penchant for clothing that only looks good on the radio. In what is sure to be a much-talked-about exploration of distinctly modern subjects, one of the sharpest minds of our time delves into some of life's most delicious topics.
With the supposed shortening of our attention spans, what future is there for fiction in the age of the internet? Contemporary Fictions of Attention rejects this discourse of distraction-crisis which suggests that the future of reading is in peril, and instead finds that contemporary writers construct 'fictions of attention' that find some value in states or moments of inattention. Through discussion of work by a diverse selection of writers, including Joshua Cohen, Ben Lerner, Tom McCarthy, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, and David Foster Wallace, this book identifies how fiction prompts readers to become peripherally aware of their own attention. Contemporary Fictions of Attention locates a common interest in attention within 21st-century fiction and connects this interest to a series of debates surrounding ethics, temporality, the everyday, boredom, work, and self-discipline in contemporary culture.
Asked in 2006 about the philosophical nature of his fiction, the late American writer David Foster Wallace replied, "If some people read my fiction and see it as fundamentally about philosophical ideas, what it probably means is that these are pieces where the characters are not as alive and interesting as I meant them to be." Gesturing Toward Reality looks into this quality of Wallace's work-when the writer dons the philosopher's cap-and sees something else. With essays offering a careful perusal of Wallace's extensive and heavily annotated self-help library, re-considerations of Wittgenstein's influence on his fiction, and serious explorations into the moral and spiritual landscape where Wallace lived and wrote, this collection offers a perspective on Wallace that even he was not always ready to see. Since so much has been said in specifically literary circles about Wallace's philosophical acumen, it seems natural to have those with an interest in both philosophy and Wallace's writing address how these two areas come together.
From memoir to journalism, personal essays to cultural criticism, this indispensable anthology brings together works from all genres of creative nonfiction, with pieces by fifty contemporary writers including Cheryl Strayed, David Sedaris, Barbara Kingsolver, and more. Selected by five hundred writers, English professors, and creative writing teachers from across the country, this collection includes only the most highly regarded nonfiction work published since 1970. Contributers include: Jo Ann Beard, Wendell Berry, Eula Biss, Mary Clearman Blew, Charles Bowden, Janet Burroway, Kelly Grey Carlisle, Anne Carson, Bernard Cooper, Michael W. Cox, Annie Dillard, Mark Doty, Brian Doyle, Tony Earley, Anthony Farrington, Harrison Candelaria Fletcher, Diane Glancy, Lucy Grealy, William Harrison, Robin Hemley, Adam Hochschild, Jamaica Kincaid, Barbara Kingsolver , Ted Kooser, Sara Levine, E.J. Levy, Phillip Lopate, Barry Lopez, Thomas Lynch, Lee Martin, Rebecca McCLanahan, Erin McGraw, John McPhee, Brenda Miller, Dinty W. Moore, Kathleen Norris, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lia Purpura, Richard Rhodes, Bill Roorbach, David Sedaris, Richard Selzer, Sue William Silverman, Floyd Skloot, Lauren Slater, Cheryl Strayed, Amy Tan, Ryan Van Meter, David Foster Wallace, and Joy Williams.
Aldous Huxley decried "the horrors of modern 'pleasure,'" or the proliferation of mass produced, widely accessible entertainment that could degrade or dull the mind. He and his contemporaries, including James Joyce, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, D. H. Lawrence, and Jean Rhys, sought to radically redefine pleasure, constructing arduous and indirect paths to delight through their notoriously daunting work. Laura Frost follows these experiments in the art of unpleasure, connecting modernism's signature characteristics, such as irony, allusiveness, and obscurity, to an ambitious attempt to reconfigure bliss. In The Problem with Pleasure, Frost draws upon a wide variety of materials, linking interwar amusements, such as the talkies, romance novels, the Parisian fragrance Chanel no. 5, and the exotic confection Turkish Delight, to the artistic play of Joyce, Lawrence, Stein, Rhys, and others. She considers pop cultural phenomena and the rise of celebrities such as Rudolph Valentino and Gypsy Rose Lee against contemporary sociological, scientific, and philosophical writings on leisure and desire. Throughout her study, Frost incorporates recent scholarship on material and visual culture and vernacular modernism, recasting the period's high/low, elite/popular divides and formal strategies as efforts to regulate sensual and cerebral experience. Capturing the challenging tensions between these artists' commitment to innovation and the stimulating amusements they denounced yet deployed in their writing, Frost calls attention to the central role of pleasure in shaping interwar culture.
Developing nonfiction writers at any stage of their career Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling helps writers cultivate their nonfiction storytelling skills by exploring the universal decisions writers confront when crafting any kind of factual narrative. Rather than isolating various forms of narrative nonfiction into categories or genres, Sue Hertz focuses on examining the common choices all true storytellers encounter, whether they are writing memoir, literary journalism, personal essays, or travel essays. And since today’s writers are no longer confined to paper, Write Choices also includes digital storytelling options, and how writers can employ technology to enhance their narratives. Integrating not only her own insights and experience as a journalist, nonfiction book author, and writing instructor, but also those of other established nonfiction storytellers, both print and digital, Hertz aims to guide writers through key decisions to tell the best story possible. Blending how-to instruction with illuminating examples and commentaries drawn from original interviews with master storytellers, Write Choices is a valuable resource for all nonfiction writers, from essayists to memoirists to literary journalists, at any stage of their career.
"Immensely illuminating and enjoyable account of a road trip along Highway 83 ... Books like [Reynold's] prove that good travel writing remains not only very much alive, but essential."—The Bookseller In Slow Road to Brownsville, David Reynolds embarks on a road trip along Highway 83, a little-known two-lane highway built in 1926 that runs from Manitoba to the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas. Growing up in a small town in England, Reynolds was enthralled by both the myth of the Wild West and the myth of the open road. This road trip is his exploration of the reality behind these myths as he makes his way from small town to small town, gas station to gas station, and motel to motel, hanging out in bars, drinking with the locals, and observing their sometimes-peculiar customs. Reynolds also wanted to see the country where the Sioux, the Cheyenne, the Comanches, the Apaches, and other native groups lived and died and to look at how their descendants live now. He describes the forced location of the Cheyenne people, discovers the true story of the Alamo, and finds similarities between Sitting Bull’s tours and those of the Black Panthers.

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