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by Maggie Nelson
These are the books I spent the most time with, the ones I was able to get seriously and satisfyingly intimate with.
The MacArthur grant awards $625,000, “no strings attached” to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”
I’m jealous of every writer who’s written a feature for The Atlantic and of every Paris memoir that’s ever been published, especially the ones that involve a lot of food. I am full of unthinkable jealousies.
It’s a fascinating piece of work, bleak and weird and unafraid to question the assumptions of American mythology.
I finished it and then texted a bunch of friends to tell them about it and then immediately re-read it because DAMN it was just that good.
My initial reaction was something like, “What is this shit, enough with these dolls!” But then I got sucked into what was one of the most satisfying reading experiences of my life.
The book made me feel -- in the smartest, most graceful way -- like it was a lantern held up to deeply interior recesses of my own soul.
I read and re-read my favorite books like it was a guilty pleasure, ashamed to be shunning all the new books that had come out, books that probably would’ve expanded my worldview or taught me something useful, but fuck it, Ali Smith gave me permission to take some time to understand the book in front of me.
On a dismal midwinter Thursday, we – eighteen current students of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, poets and fiction writers alike - set out to chronicle one ordinary 24-hour period in our lives. Hannah Horvath: take note.
I will say this, it was not my best year for reading. It was a year where I read a lot of really good books but almost no great books.