paper trail

The Brexistential dread of election day

Michelle Tea

Game of Thrones mastermind George R. R. Martin has endorsed Hillary Clinton in a series of blog posts, writing that “there has never been a presidential candidate more unfit to lead this nation” than Donald Trump.

Elissa Schappell, the author of the story collection Blueprints for Building Better Girls and the co-founder of Tin House, has published an interview with an imaginary Hillary hater. And, inverting the technique used in David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, she provides us only with the questions, urging the reader to imagine the enraged answers.

Mira Jacob, the author of the novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, and Emily Raboteau, the author of Searching for Zion, write about raising children of color in the age of Trump.

At the Times, Simon Critchley writes about the “brexistential dread” he’s experienced following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and throughout the long US election cycle: “The Brexistentialist dread that we are feeling is not an accident. The world is a chaotic, violent place that seems out of joint, confusing and fake. Our blind, simple-minded faith in the power of social media and the allegedly liberating force of the internet has produced a news cycle that cycles ever more bewilderingly out of control.”

Amanda Petrusich, the author of Do Not Sell at Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World’s Rarest 78rpm Records, names the song that she thinks will best “soothe your election anxiety”: the Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child.” When the song came out in 1970, “Americans were, much as they are now, trying to make sense of the desperate affairs of the day.”

Sara Jaffe talks to Michelle Tea about her new book Black Wave and the difficulties of writing a novel that combines fiction and memoir. “I feel a lot of anxiety around that. Like, am I doing okay? Are these people real? Would this happen?” Tea said. “I didn't realize until I did it a little bit more that you don't necessarily need to ask yourself that question, that you can kind of play God and just go with, ‘It's real because I'm saying it's real.’’’

Critic and novelist Tom LeClair writes at the Daily Beast that “the National Book Award has gone to hell.” LeClair details the problems with the award that he observed as a judge in 2005, including a lack of books from independent presses and judges with conflicting loyalties. Now, “in attempting to reach what the National Book Foundation calls ‘new communities’ of book buyers and to please its corporate sponsors,” LeClair writes, “the National Book Award for fiction . . . has turned toward commercialist and artisanal creations.” (He does, it turns out, have a few positive things to say about this year’s finalists, especially The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead.) The National Book Awards will be announced on November 15.