“Occasionally, societies fall apart. These are the voices of those caught in the current American vortex of disconnection and angst.”
“A sign of just how bleak the country’s sense of the future is can be found in Max Brooks’s World War Z. Although the speculative novel — which rather cleverly reimagines Studs Terkel’s The Good War as an oral history of a world-spanning zombie onslaught — spends much of its time in rather bleak scenery, it also contains a clear trumpeting of hope. Because after Brooks gets done reporting how different nations respond to the assault of the undead, the interviewees (particularly the Americans) talk about how they fought back. Not only do they restructure a shattered nation, they recapture the concept of purpose, of collective action, of citizenship.”
Here’s how funny it is: It’s funnier than A Confederacy of Dunces. It’s funnier than Money or Lucky Jim. It’s funnier than any of the product that any of your modern literary LOL-traffickers (your Lipsytes, your Shteyngarts) have put on the street. It beats Shalom Auslander to a bloody, chuckling pulp with his own funny-bone. And it is, let me tell you, immeasurably funnier than however funny you insist on finding Fifty Shades of Grey.
“The hype surrounding George Saunders’s Tenth of December in the early days of the calendar year was kind of staggering. The backlash followed not long afterwards, when it was suggested that someone who can’t seem to accrue enough pages to pen the Great American Novel couldn’t actually be considered the writer of our time. This makes me cringe — maybe because I’m beginning to suspect that it’s true.”
Throughout May and June, a new generation of reporters, writers, editors, and essayists make their way out of school and into the professional world. They come bearing clips, work samples produced for class or during an internship. Hundreds of media outlets at colleges and universities across…
The Longreads team has teamed up with Syracuse assistant professor Aileen Gallagher in order to “search for and share outstanding student work.” If you’ve read (or written) something fantastic this past school year, they encourage you to tag it #college #longreads on Twitter or Tumblr.
I am consistently drawn in, and consistently disappointed, by bio-novels about women made unhappy by famous men. I read The Paris Wife, about Hadley Hemingway. I read Loving Frank, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s mistress. I read the diaries of Sofya Tolstoy. And now I’ve read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. I put each of them aside a heavy sigh when I’ve finished. I’m not disappointed in the books, but in the lives of the women. The point of these books is to tell their side of the story, but in reality, and definitely in Zelda’s case, they didn’t get their own side of the story.
“Paradoxically, this is the reason to write and read about Zelda [Fitzgerald], because she deserved a life much more interesting than the one that she got. Interesting to her, that is, a life she could have given her energy and talents to, not just a life made interesting by famous friends and European capitals.” - Janet Potter
Avoid passive voice. When you write in the passive voice you sound like a landlord or a lawyer; you sound like you mean to avoid responsibility. Is that true? Do you eschew responsibility? Were you up until four a.m. writing on the walls of girls’ Facebook pages before you started this paper?