For a while, shortly after I finished an undergraduate creative writing course, everything I wrote started with an observation or a realization…I was going to be an essayist, and it was going to be awesome.
The subjects of photographer Robert Dawson’s latest project are beautiful, educational, and in danger; they are public libraries. For his new book, The Public Library: A Photographic Essay, Dawson visited hundreds of public libraries, from little free libraries to icons, in 48 states to photograph “our best example of the public commons.” The Morning News has a few of his photos as well as an essay on the importance of libraries by Charles Simic. “Wherever I found a library, I immediately felt at home.”
This year’s Tournament of Books comes to an end today, after nearly a month of analyses, debates and thoughtful arguments. In the final round,Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life squares off with James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, both of which are, in Héctor Tobar’s words, ”unorthodox, historical novels.” Now that the verdicts are in, the only question is: who won? (You could also read the quarterfinal judged by our own Lydia Kiesling.)
Why do we reread novels obsessively as children but hardly ever as adults? At The Morning News, Clay Risen discusses why rereading appeals to children so much. “It was a residual sense of wonder, left over long after I had accepted that the reality on the page and the reality beyond it are distinct.” Pair with: Our essay on the pleasures and perils of rereading.
This week, our own Lydia Kiesling took part in The Morning News Tournament of Books, where she adjudicated a showdown between Scott McClanahan’s Hill William and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Who went on to the next round: the trans-Pacific odyssey, or the tale of West Virginia? (You could also read our own Edan Lepucki’s Tournament contribution from last year, or else read our own Nick Moran’s Year in Reading piece on Scott McClanahan.)
I came to Atkinson through her mystery novels, the Jackson Brodie series, so when I heard she was publishing a standalone novel—and worse yet, a literary one—I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. Here’s how I did feel: physically electrified.
I’ve thought about writing her. But what would I say? I’m Jennifer Berman, too?
Quirky best friends never go on jogs. They just talk and talk and talk, quickly and in different voices, until an indulgent eye-roll from the protagonist sends them on their way. On the transcriber’s shitlist, they rank somewhere between one of Aaron Sorkin’s voluble policy wonks and a Cockney street urchin in a British police procedural.