John Jeremiah Sullivan (b4b – s2.e5)

In radio show on May 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

“When you suspend judgement, you see things more clearly.”
John Jeremiah Sullivan

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John Jeremiah Sullivan (b4b – s2.e5)

May 24:
Reference books collect dust. They give weight to the bottom shelf and they adorn, lazily, the coffee table. They also provide; for building cold frames and raised beds in your yard, look no further than Eliot Coleman’s excellent book, Four Season Harvest.

Jack Kirby is, for some, the King of Comics. As the under-acknowledged co-creator of characters such as Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk, he has never been given his due. Further illumination is beautifully delivered in Mark Evanier’s Kirby.

Feature: John Jeremiah Sullivan
Books for Breakfast talked to writer/editor John Jeremiah Sullivan about his recent collection of 14 essays, Pulphead. “The image that comes to mind,” JJS said of the book, “is of mirrors in a room, where all the pieces in the collection speak together.” His essays work to understand famous misfits (Michael Jackson in “Michael”; or the bratty G’n’R frontman in “The Final Comeback of Axl Rose”), and to illuminate dark corners of history and culture (as in “Lahwineski: Career of and Eccentric Naturalist”). This interview is rife with audio gems.

Next Week: Marc Bell & Amy Lockhart
Cartoonist and illustrator Marc Bell has an incredible vernacular of geometric squiggles (geometiggles?), cellular doodles, and offbeat characters. His new book is Pure Pajamas. Artist Amy Lockhart makes animations, live action films and videos, drawings, paintings, comics and small books. ‘Toon in next week, May 31st.

Things we talked about:

Guru farmer Eliot Coleman

Jack Kirby, King of Comics

Guy recommends reading theessayist
and David Foster Wallace

Peter finds good longform @ longreads

Cartoonist Marc Bell

Artist Amy Lockhart

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  1. You can hear John Jeremiah Sullivan reading a piece from Pulphead here:

  2. This is the one where you talk about essays, right? I just have to say, I LOVE ESSAYS. I probably realized this for sure when reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonders. Frickin’ awesome book. And Chuck Palahniuk’s essays (especially on writing) are the reason I love him.

    My book club (this is The Bimonthly Facebook Book Club, run by a friend from Albuquerque), for our June non-fiction pick, voted on a list of options and ended up choosing Jonathan Franzen’s How To Be Alone. Opinion was divided on the choice, and even more divided once it was read (a lot of people object to Franzen inherently or for social reasons) but it did produce lively discussions.

    And this: in my first year of grad school, I took a course in writing Creative Non-fiction, in which pretty much all we talked about was the essay, in all its forms, and read all about what other people have to say about it. It’s an incredibly versatile form. And far from dead. People LOVE reading essays. It’s just that thing – which you talk about – how the LABEL is off-putting. Either we need to find another label or just teach everyone to get over it. Just say yes to essays. Mah haha.

  3. In the spring I was visiting a friend in North Carolina who has a New Yorker subscription and I always paw through her back issues to find the short stories. There was this one by Michael Chabon called “Citizen Conn” which was about two old cartoonist guys who had fallen out years before over a betrayal in their collaboration. It’s basically Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, with some modified histories, plus a female rabbi in an old age home.

    I don’t think you can read the story online without a subscription, but you can read what Chabon has to say about it (and then find it in a library or something).

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