The Imp of the Perverse

1. I’m just curious: is this subway ad trying to imply that subscribers to the New York Times online payment plan will get some kind of special access to Jay-Z? If so, I’d really like them to substantiate this. If not, why is he on this poster?

2. I still love the New York Times, even though I hate their payment plan. This weekend’s New York Times Book Review includes a satisfying knockdown by Christopher Hitchens of a dumb new book by David Mamet.

3. Also in the New York Times: the inspiring story of 26-year-old Amanda Hocking, who shook off years of rejections and invented herself as a very successful writer.

4. “A direct line to the planet of fear and the imp of the perverse … the desire to do that which we know is wrong”. Lou Reed is channelling Edgar Allan Poe again, this time in a book with illustrations by Lorenzo Mattotti.

5. “Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Dwight Macdonald, J.D. Salinger, Paul Goodman, William Burroughs and other bohemian culture heroes” experimented with the strange ideas of Wilhelm Reich, inventor of the Orgone Box.

6. I love the way biographer Charles Shields has been sharing his experience of launching a highly awaited biography of Kurt Vonnegut on a fun, informative, heartfelt blog. Authors take note: this is how to use social media well.

7. Re-reading Every Murakami Novel Back to Back to Back.

8. Words Without Borders presents the various recommendations of Roberto Bolano as a spontaneous index to its own archives.

9. Sylvia Plath, in her Mademoiselle pose, interviewing Elizabeth Bowen.

10. Bob Mould of Husker Du has written a memoir, called See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody.

11. Terry Southern’s excellent story collection Red-Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes is being re-released as an e-book.

12. A revised edition of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake has 9000 corrections, though I agree with Scott Esposito that it’s hard to imagine how anyone will be able to tell the difference.

13. I’ll be performing at Wireman’s Poetry Night in Frederick, Maryland next Tuesday, June 28, featuring good folks like Mark “Wireman” Coburn himself, Doreen Peri and Goodloe Byron.

14. Classic, classic stuff: the Allen Ginsberg Project points to a 77-minute video recording (in two parts) of the historic 1971 “Free John Sinclair” concert featuring John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Ed Sanders, Phil Ochs, Jerry Rubin, Bobby Seale, Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, David Peel, Allen Ginsberg, a young J. Geils Band, a young Bob Seger, Commander Cody and Stevie Wonder. I’ll say it again: classic classic stuff.

15. And finally, this blog post goes out with love to the joyful Clarence Clemons of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. I’m so glad he got to write his memoir, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales, before he died.

6 Responses

  1. RE: 2. Hitchens certainly was
    RE: 2. Hitchens certainly was firing on all cylinders. Mamet’s interview in the NYTimes was equally as dumb.

  2. A few comments:
    The piece on

    A few comments:

    The piece on Orgone Box inventor William Reich is great! Something tells me that William Burroughs knew it was bogus but, never one to shy away from a gimmick, went along with it anyway.

    The David Mamet book does, indeed, sound ridiculous. Yet people will believe it! Kind of like the Orgone Box, come to think of it.

    You can’t go wrong with Poe’s “The Imp of the Perverse”! Well, then again, “Imp” is all about going wrong, isn’t it?

    Finally, I wish I could be there at Wireman’s Poetry Night on the 28th! It would be good to see some of the old crowd and some new people, too. Somebody take pictures or video!

  3. Levi, I’d like to make a
    Levi, I’d like to make a general remark about points 1 and 2: successful major newspapers and magazines either
    a) become a part of BIG business and adopt those mass media advertising techniques (including pop celebrity endorsements like Jay-Z) and get most of their money from big companies
    b) they morph into something like popular blogs, the way the Huffington Post is a hybrid of moderated newspaper and (collective) blog and get their money from advertisers because of their mass popularity. I don’t see any other viable alternatives for them now and (especially) in the future.

  4. Thanks for the link on how
    Thanks for the link on how biographers should do social media. I’m a memoir writer, and I’ve been inclusive with blog content. On the one hand, I don’t want to give away my whole story but on the other hand I want to give readers a taste of the sort of stories they should expect. One way I’ve been handling this is in talking about my process—being part of an MFA program, joining writing workshops, reading articles—but I’ve been worried non-writers might find that part boring. I was encouraged seeing that aspect on the Vonnegut blog. It gives more depth to the author and the book. If anyone has any helpful links on how memoir writers should blog, let me know!

  5. …..see u tuesday
    …..see u tuesday Levi……there should be some pics and video bill…i’ll get them to you on FB……

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!