There may be readers who will — on discovering that A Questionable Shape combines a quest, a romance, humor, and an epidemic of zombies, with philosophy, footnotes, history, science, the arts, half of Daniel Webster, cascades of lyricism and truckloads of realism — refuse to so much as open the back cover. I wish they would rethink their decision.
“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.
The Trajectory of Dreams is a wholly original and fearlessly dark novel, an interesting combination of psychological thriller and character study. In Lela White, Wolverton has created one of the most haunting unreliable narrators I’ve ever come across. Lela’s illness is a curtain between herself and the world. She can see through only dimly. She feels and sees things others don’t — “A howling rose out of the pavement and wound around my ankles” — and Wolverton is at her best in her depiction of the queasy mismatch between Lela’s perceptions and what the reader knows or suspects to be true.
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?