by Alli Carlisle

Adios, Happy Homeland! – Ana Menéndez

The Cuba of the writers memory, or often their parents’ memories, is an elysian island, pre-Communist and therefore pre-poverty, pre-hardship, pre-exploitation—an imagined setting overripe with the untainted sweetness of the place of origin, always longed for and always denied.

Everything I know about animal sex I learned from Isabella Rossellini.

A couple of years ago, Isabella Rossellini and the Sundance Channel actually perfected the short film form with the ingenious series Green Porno. It’s an elegant and yet kind of raunchy series of two-minute clips about the mating habits of insects and other animals, from earthworms to anchovies. They’re accurate, with a perfectly digestible amount […]

Miseducating children is getting easier all the time

I posted last week about books you probably shouldn’t read to your children but might want to anyway. Well, now you can download the audiobook “Go the Fuck to Sleep” for free from, narrated by…Samuel L. Jackson!

For the younger reader, kind of

Being frequently in the company of a two-year-old myself, I got to wondering what else was out there in the way of instructional and fortifying alternative literature for youngsters. Here are a few favorites I found.

Art: the new vegetables

An adult education center in my area just implemented a CSA program for art–you pay $300 for a share, and get nine pieces of art over three months. On the other side of it, the artists who participate receive stipends of $1,500 for 50 pieces of art. The money made supports the center running the program, which in itself is a strong presence for community engagement with art.

In pursuit of ephemera

A few years ago, I saw Rick Prelinger give a speech called “On the Virtues of Preexisting Material: A Manifesto,” a stirring treatise on the value of cultural recycling. It included points like “Why add to the population of orphaned works?” and “The ideology of originality is arrogant and wasteful,” and “The pleasure of recognition warms us on cold nights and cools us in hot summers.”

The Winners of the Best Translated Book Award!

Poetry: The Book of Things by Aleš Šteger, translated from the Slovenian by Brian Henry (BOA Editions) Fiction: The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson, translated from the Swedish by Thomas Teal (New York Review Books) Thank god for translators, because I don’t speak either of those languages, and I look forward to reading both these books. Read […]

Best Translated Book Award Winners Announced Tomorrow

A little while ago, I was hanging out, wasting time enjoyably, and I came across the longlist for the Best Translated Book Award (Fiction and Poetry) at the website Three Percent, a really interesting (and really aesthetically pleasing–good job, guys) site all about international literature based at the University of Rochester. The list had been […]

For and Against Interpretation: Reading A.S. Byatt

“These protagonists (some, not all) end up throwing over a form of knowing characterized by skepticism in favor of an inchoate and yet much more real sense of what is true and meaningful—perhaps the very sense that experiences and words can be true and meaningful.”

The Art of the Book

All this talk about the future of books (see this week’s excellent FS Book Club, starting here) has me depressed, slightly nauseated, and wondering whether backyard bonfires are legal in this part of Boston. But really, at the risk of seeming preemptively nostalgic in front of a lot of hip people, I’ve been thinking about […]