Photo courtesy Kaliel Roberts
For bestselling novelist Andrew Sean Greer, Less represents a grand departure in more ways than one.
“I was writing another book that was my typical style,” says the author of five preceding fictions, including The Path of Minor Planets and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, “sort of poignant, sort of wistful. And I was getting nowhere with it, because I couldn’t feel sorry for the main character.”
The main character was a middle-aged gay man on ...
We talk to Mary Collins & Donald Collins about At the Broken Places.
At the Broken Places blends manual and memoir, both for young trans people and their cis family members. In a series of candid essays, Mary Collins and her trans son, Donald Collins, reflect on Donald’s transition and Mary’s fraught response to it. The book also includes an extensive suggested-reading list, and a “Story Exchange” adds the voices of gender activists and leaders. I talked to them recently about co-writing the book.
Did At the Broken Places emerge, in part, as ...
Photo courtesy Marion Ettlinger
Samantha Hunt’s fiction lies in the meeting place between our common reality and the expanded reality of dreams, transformations, visitations, and conjurings. In her previous novels, teenagers communicate with the dead, a man travels through time over Queens, and men emerge from and disappear into the ocean. Hunt’s latest book, a collection of stories titled The Dark Dark, again inhabits the threshold between realities. “This is our experience in the world,” she says. “That’s what’s true to our life ...
Quips on our radar
Kwame Alexander photographed by Portia Wiggins
“She eats it out of a bag. She eats it at night. She makes sandwiches with it....Will she eat all 1,079 pages of the beloved postmodern saga of addiction, tennis, pop culture, and lust? You can follow her progress via the hashtag #eatinfinitejest...” —Clayton Purdum reports at the A.V. Club on comedian Jamie Loftus’ goal to slowly eat the entirety of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest
“Good things will happen. Like sometimes you’ll spend ...
Beatles fans know the date as holy writ: July 6, 1957, when Paul McCartney met John Lennon for the very first time and showed him how to tune his guitar. A couple of weeks later, McCartney joined Lennon’s band—and the rest is history.
That band wasn’t playing rock ’n’ roll as such. Instead, the Quarrymen were playing a style of music called skiffle, mixing elements of American country and western, jazz, and blues with pub singalongs to create a sound ...
Vicky Smith and Alex Trebek courtesy of Jeopardy! Productions, Inc.
Like many a trivia-accumulating American, I have been an on-again, off-again fan of Jeopardy! for years. I sit on my couch and shout answers at the TV, groaning when a contestant muffs a question: "Harriet Tubman was from Maryland! How can you not know that?" So when I saw an announcement for an online test to screen potential contestants, I thought, Why not?
An online test, an in-person audition, and several months later, I had a taping date in Culver ...
Photo courtesy Erin English
The inspiration for Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Karen English’s latest middle grade novel all comes down to one unforgettable quote.
“We had a housekeeper,” says English, who was born in 1954 and grew up in Los Angeles, “and she pulled me aside one day, when I was about nine, and told me that, if I ever went to Africa, the Africans would kill me, because they didn’t like, in her words, ‘no light-skinned negroes.’
“I didn’t ...
Some of this month’s excellent nonfiction
Heading into the heart of summer in Charleston, South Carolina, where I live, sometimes it’s too hot for anything except hunkering down in the air conditioning with a good book. Here are seven to check out this July, with quotes from our reviews.
The Unwomanly Face of War
by Svetlana Alexievich
“The Nobel laureate writes about ‘the wrong kind of war’: oral confessions from Russian women intimately involved with fighting for the motherland….Essential reading full of remarkable emotional wealth ...