Jonathan Lethem reviews the 1959 adaptation of Earth Abides, starring Burt Lancaster

As part of HiloBrow's Movie Objects series of essays, Jonathan Lethem writes about Burt Lancaster's hammer in the 1958 movie adaptation of George R. Stewart's almost last-man-on-earth novel, Earth Abides.

Earth Abides surrounds a feral-looking Burt Lancaster, fresh off the set of John Huston's The Unforgiven, with a cast of New York stage actors and unknowns, among them a young Gena Rowlands and the unforgettably eccentric character actor Timothy Carey.

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Jonathan Lethem discusses his tribute to Talking Heads' Fear of Music

Jonathan Lethem's latest is a book in the 33 1/3 series, Talking Heads' Fear of Music, a tribute to Talking Heads brilliant, seminal album, one of the greatest records of all time. In Wired, Geeta Dayal interviews Lethem about his book and the approach he took, and leaves me drooling for the chance to read it myself:

Lethem chose not to take a journalistic approach with Fear of Music; there are no interviews with the band members, Eno or anyone else involved in the album's creation.

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Jonathan Lethem talks with Erik Davis

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I just finished reading Jonathan Lethem's fantastic new novel Chronic City, a trippy, reality-questioning tale of strange Manhattan that falls right into the genre of fiction that I gravitate to — that of Philip K. Dick, JG Ballard, Don DeLillo's White Noise, Warren Ellis's Crooked Little Vein, and of course old-school noir. — Read the rest

Jonathan Lethem's CHRONIC CITY, surreal and beautiful sf explores the authentic and the unreal

Jonathan Lethem's extraordinary new novel Chronic City tells the story of Chase Insteadman, a washed up, grown up child actor living off his sitcom residuals in wealthy, Upper East Side New York. Chase is caught between two improbabilities: his fiancee, a dying astronaut stranded on a space-station walled off from Earth by a Chinese orbital minefield, from which vantage she commands daily headlines; and Perkus Tooth, a media-obsessed Philip-K-Dickian ex-rock-critic who lives in a weed-smoke- filled cave of a rent- controlled apartment from which he obsessively watches obscure movies and reads obscure books. — Read the rest

Jonathan Lethem: remix my stories!

Siva sez, "Jonathan Lethem, author of Fortress of Solitude, Motherless Brooklyn, and a bunch of other great books and stories, has offered some of his stories for remixing and adaptation. Check out the current Harper's Magazine, in which Jonathan copies and pastes together a series of sentences and paragraphs from such notables as Lewis Hyde, Lawrence Lessig, Kembrew McLeod, and Siva Vaidhyanathan to make an argument for Free Culture. — Read the rest

Bob Eckstein's watercolor postcards

A wonderful friend began sending me Bob Eckstein's watercolor postcards of famous, still existing, and no longer existing, brick-and-mortar bookstores from across the globe when I was laid up for a few months from an injury last year. Each postcard includes the year the store was opened. — Read the rest

Ed Norton finally breaks cover in Motherless Brooklyn

For years, it was just about impossible to see a film that Ed Norton didn't have something to do with. Then, just like Kaiser Soze, poof, he was gone. Except now he's back! Given that Norton will wrote, directed and is staring in Motherless Brooklyn, his absence from the big screen is totally understandable—that's a lot of work to shoulder. — Read the rest