literature

‘Capitol Hell’ Tells the Story of Stereotypical Republicans and their Rise to Power

Kurt Thurber

Capitol Hell is certainly a book that challenges preconceived notions.  Do Republicans with their moral grandstanding and fear mongering even have a sense of humor? In this debut novel, they try. Two former Republican Congressional staffers, Jayne J. Jones and Alicia M. Long are co-authors of Capitol Hell. They tell the tale of a young, naive, exuberant scheduler, Allison Admundsom and the dog-eat-dog world that is Washington, DC politics.

Fiction: De Gaulle and I

Tara Taghizadeh

In the picture I have of my grandfather, he is standing next to General de Gaulle. You can’t see his face, though. What you see is the General in the midst of a crowd, and beside him is a man wearing a bowler hat with his back to the camera. The owner of that hat was my grandfather – according to him, anyway. “General de Gaulle is dead. France is a widow,” he’d say, shaking his head this way and that. Actually, President Pompidou said it on the radio, on a day as cold as hell when crows gathered on skinny branches covered in snow.

Author David Massengill on the Joys of Writing Macabre Fiction

Snapper S. Ploen

These enticing stories of darkness and intrigue are pulled from the shadows by the mind of prolific Seattle writer David Massengill. His recently published collection of short stories, Fragments of a Journal Salvaged from a Charred House in Germany, 1816 and other stories (Anvil Fiction), spins a series of foreboding tales that infect the imagination with both dread and unique descriptive nuances. Massengill was kindly enough to sit down for an interview with Highbrow Magazine to talk about his recent publication and his thoughts on writing in the exciting new world of digital books.

Remembering the Genius of Chris Marker

Steven J. Chandler

Chris Marker wrote in the introduction to his 1997 multimedia CD-Rom Immemory, “I claim for the image the humility and powers of a madeleine.” In that CD-Rom and in many of his other creative endeavors, Marker continued the process of memory’s cartography. He embraced a multitude of genres as mapmaking tools, the span of his work communicating the dependence of the image to its memory. He cobbled together the realities of disparate cultures, mending the breaches in time through preservation of minutia and banality. 

Literary Flashback: Reading ‘This Is Where I Leave You’

Kimberly Tolleson

As one might expect, when all these semi-estranged siblings and their provocative mother are forced to be under the same roof for seven days, shenanigans, fights, heartfelt moments, and confessions ensue. At the outset, it all feels a little too set up and predictable, almost a bad knockoff of Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections. Many characters have a too-familiar feel to them. 

The Great Race: An Author, a Coupe, and the Thrill of the Ride

Steven J. Chandler

Dina Bennet has an interesting take on American literature’s classic road trip. In her book, Peking to Paris, she recounts the 8,000 mile classic car rally which she undertook with her French-born husband Bernard in a 1940 GM LaSalle coupe nicknamed “Roxanne.” The race brought them from Beijing to Russia, across Central Europe and finally into Paris. It was a road rife with possibility for social, political and cultural insights. We don’t get much further, however, than the author’s anxieties and allegiance to a husband bent on winning gold at all costs. 

How Wikipedia Fell into the Gender Gap

Sandip Roy

But Wikipedia’s women problem is different. It’s not about the clumsiness of describing Kamala Harris as California’s first female African-American Indian-American attorney general. Like much of the online world Wikipedia has a gender gap. But as it has become the default go-to site for information, its gender gap is showing in embarrassing ways. In 2011, Noam Cohen wrote in The New York Times that the contributor base was barely 13 percent women. That means there’s gender bias that shows up in the very act of deciding what topic is worthy of meriting a wiki entry and how long it is.

Celebrating 60 Years of City Lights, a Cultural and Historical Landmark

Benjamin Wright

While other independent bookstores have closed their doors in recent years, and even as big chain stores have gone under (i.e., Borders) and continue to downsize (i.e., Barnes & Noble), City Lights has remained (not without some difficulties – at times the bookstore has borrowed from the publishing company, and vice versa, to ensure sustainability and the company bounced back from near financial ruin in 1984) and has even expanded several times over the years. 

Literary Flashback: Reading ‘Super Sad True Love Story’

Kimberly Tolleson

Proving that a dystopia can still be a fun read, Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story is set in the not-too-distant future of New York City, providing many parallels that hit disturbingly close to home. Our hero Lenny Abramov, a nerdy and overzealous 39-year-old, is a relic of the recent past: He loves reading bound books; his body, nose and hairline are not perfect; but most of all, he is striving for some authentic human connection in a world of self-absorption. 

How Electronic Publishing Democratized Authorship and Paved the Way for New Reading Habits

Gerry LaFemina

For Pietsch, and many others, the book is not going the way of the record. Shoppers could rarely listen to records before they bought them in a record store, but they can thumb through a book.  Still today book purchases are often impulse buys; therefore, people still buy traditional books. Some evidence seems to support this position.  A recent Publishers Weekly article notes that Diamond Book Distributors reported double digit gains in 2012.  Simon & Schuster reported a bump in sales in 2012.

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