Books: As with food and clothing, they’re a commodity that elicits status anxiety for many people, particularly the insecure. And wherever there is status anxiety, there are potential minefields. We need to tread with the lightness of meringue.
Leslie Jamison and Francine Prose discuss the ways reading can affect your life for the worse, with potential results ranging from murder to being bad at sports.
Literature is the record we have of the conversation between those of us now alive on earth and everyone who’s come before and will come after, the cumulative repository of humanity’s knowledge, wonder, curiosity, passion, rage, grief and delight. It’s as useless as a spun-sugar snowflake and as practical as a Swiss Army knife.
In the Times Book Review, Year in Reading alum and Edinburgh author Alexander Chee reviews the latest by Celeste Ng, a Millions contributor. He describes the book as, among other things, a departure from your average literary thriller: “If we know this story, we haven’t seen it yet in American fiction, not until now.”
That errant spot of ink, she believes, makes a difference, contributing to what she calls a ‘routine but serious misunderstanding’ of the document.
Now that I’ve escorted two e-partners to the edge of the grave, I’m wary of this brave new world of digital publishers and readers. As recently as the 1980s and ’90s, writers like me could reasonably aspire to a career and a living wage. I was dispatched to costly and difficult places like Iraq, to work for months on a single story. Later, as a full-time book author, I received advances large enough to fund years of research.
How many young writers can realistically dream of that now?
His puzzle sometimes gets a bad rap for being a little prudish, you know, things need to pass the Sunday breakfast test: no URINE, no ENEMA—all those words have great vowels but they will never appear in a New York Times crossword.
Meet the 23-year-old tasked with “injecting some swag” into the New York Times crossword puzzle.
'Emily Dickinson was the father of American poetry and Walt Whitman was the mother,' [Lockwood] read. 'Walt Whitman nude, in the forest, staring deep into a still pool — the only means of taking tit-pics available at that time.'
Even though the advice to “kill your darlings” implies editing your writing is a painful process, some writers relish it. At The New York Times, Pamela Erens discusses the pleasures of trimming down her writing. “For every word I cut, I seem to have more space between my ribs, more lung capacity.” For more Erens, read her essay on accepting her book cover.