Reading for fun vs. reading for work
Louise Penny photographed by Sigrid Estrada.
I write this from Florida, where I’ve spent a week sitting in my parents’ backyard, reading. (I’ve done a few other things but not much. This is my idea of a good time.) Vacation, for me, is a time to read books that have nothing to do with work, and the first thing I wanted to do this time is catch up on Elena Ferrante, whom I’d never read. Instead of diving into the Neapolitan novels, I started with The ...
The inspiration for 'Cabaret' is 80 years old
Christopher Isherwood; credit New Directions.
In the early 1930s, a time fast fading into history, strange things were afoot in Germany. Trading on ancient symbolism, timeworn prejudices, modern pseudoscience, and long-nursed grievances, a powerful right-wing coalition was rising, led by a charismatic war veteran who promised to restore it to greatness and whose name would soon be known around the world.
In those early days, he banked on being unheard outside his own country. There were eyewitnesses on hand, to be sure, to report his ...
Attica Locke photographed by Jenny Walters.
Most writers tell the same story again and again, regardless of genre. Scandal showrunner Shonda Rhimes says her story is "You are not alone." Whether she is writing for TV or one of her fast-paced novels, Attica Locke's favorite story to tell is: "They're all lying."
That may sound cynical, but Locke is actually having a moment that artists dream about. Her third novel, Pleasantville, publishes on April 21. After 10 years of writing scripts for studios from ...
Our preview of books first published abroad
The Girl in the Red Coat
U.K.: Feb. 26, 2015 | Faber & Faber
U.S.: None yet
Twenty-five girls in red coats handed out 20,000 sample chapters at London train stations to promote this compelling debut novel, a rare investment and a sign that Faber & Faber expects it to be a bestseller. The story is every parent’s nightmare: a little girl, Carmel, vanishes mysteriously at a book fair, leaving ...
A dispatch from this year's Associated Writing Programs conference.
Graywolf Press' event with Eula Biss, Leslie Jamison, Maggie Nelson, and Claudia Rankine was packed. Photo by AWP/Robb Cohen Photography.
The annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference hit Minneapolis this past week. Addressing North America’s largest literary conference, the mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, turned out to welcome attendees at Thursday’s keynote with a sincere rally cry for more poetry in her administration—her love for literature went so far to include an admission that she has written an unpublished YA novel. Before Karen Russell took the stage to deliver the actual keynote address, Mayor Hodges brought attention ...
Angela Flournoy photographed by LaTaya T. Duncan
When Angela Flournoy visited her grandparents’ Detroit home in 2009, no one had been living there for quite some time—yet it remained crystallized in perfect condition. After her grandmother moved out, her uncles continued to maintain the house as neighboring East Side homes crumbled into disrepair and squatters proliferated. Flournoy recalls the eerie sensation that time had frozen within the house, even as the surrounding city, corroded by violence and economic downfall, had completely transformed.
“It made me start thinking ...
Amelia Gray photographed by Matthew Chamberlain.
Sometimes we happen upon writers who completely alter the way we conceive of the written form. It’s a humbling thing in a reader’s life, to be immersed in this phenomenon, and when it occurs, there’s little else to do but savor the rarity.
Amelia Gray is one such writer, and her palette of work elicits this thunderstruck state. From her earlier collections of short fiction, AM/PM and Museum of the Weird, to her debut novel, Threats, Gray gallops head-first ...
Emily Schultz photographed by Brian Joseph Davis
In The Blondes, a novel by Emily Schultz, a contagious disease afflicts only flaxen-haired females. Prior to death, victims of Siphonaptera Human Virus (SHV), popularly known as “Gold Fever” or “California Rabies,” are highly prone to violent attacks.
“ ‘Save it, Burroughs! Her brain’s bleached. She can’t hear you,’ ” one police officer shouts to another at John F. Kennedy International Airport, while subduing a flight attendant. The woman attempted to maul a toddler.
The airport scene ...