BURN PILE: Bad Sex, Stirring Photos, the Formation of a Literary Lesbian Community, Sinatra's Cold, and Award Winners

I have, on several occasions, described sex as "breathing heavily next to someone else's ear." While I fully realize that isn't great, it also won't (I hope) land me a nomination for the Bad Sex in Literature Award. A selected quote from this year's nominees, via the Guardian:

"She rides above him the way she’d imagined that one day she’d ride a boy, a man, a beast.." 

Find more: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/nov/18/bad-sex-award-2015-the-contenders-in-quotes

A reflection on Robert Mapplethorpe's work from the Guardian. The photographer is described: "As for the personae, Mapplethorpe by all accounts was a good boy harboring bad boy fantasies." 

From the Guardianhttp://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/nov/17/robert-mapplethorpe-the-perfect-moment-25-years-later

The New Republic examines the fascinating history of The Price of Salt, a pulp novel focusing on a lesbian relationship in which the protagonists do not end up ruined, dead, or morally flagellated. In that way, it was different than its salacious predecessors, and created a genre. 

"As an act of secretive reading, the lesbian pulp novel formed an invisible lesbian community."

From the New Republichttps://newrepublic.com/article/124220/patricia-highsmith-offered-gay-readers-hopeful-ending

A profile of Gay Talese, a prolific profile-writer himself and one of the most important figures in the development of non-fiction as a literary genre. He wrote what many consider the liminal text of New Journalism, "Sinatra Has a Cold." When Talese arrived to interview Frank Sinatra for a profile in Esquire, he was told the singer had a cold, and wouldn't be able to see him, ever. So Talese mastered the "art of hanging out," constructing Sinatra from the corners, from overhead conversations, across crowded rooms: 

"When he heard that Sinatra was going to Las Vegas, he took a plane and followed him wherever he went. He lurked in the shadows, eavesdropping on conversations, hastening to the men’s room to jot them down before they slipped from his memory." 

From the Telegraphhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/books/authors/gay-talese-interview/

You can read the original piece on the Esquire website: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a638/esq1003-oct-sinatra-rev/

In other news, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Johnson won the National Book Award, in nonfiction and fiction respectively on Tuesday. At the same ceremony Don DeLillo received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. 

For a full list, from Timehttp://time.com/4119748/national-book-awards-tanehisi-coates-adam-johnson/