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by Junot Díaz
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In a normal year, I usually find only one or two books that I truly love. But this year the list of those books was happily quite long.
Depression fucking sucks, dude. Depression sucks. And part of you thinks, “Well if I have to deal with being fucking depressed, I’ll figure out some way to make some art out of it.”
Let's consider literary fiction as a straightforward genre, like romance or science fiction, with certain expected tropes and motifs.
The MacArthur grant awards $500,000, “no strings attached” to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”
Yunior is not a bad guy, but he is growing up, and as Diaz is honest enough to admit in this collection, getting older isn’t necessarily all mellowing out and seeing the error in your youthful ways.
They try to form a band, they do drugs, they light themselves on fire, they fall off roofs. It's all so New Jersey.
It was going to be just me, a box of books, and Pico Boulevard. I was kind of scared.
Migration in its various forms is at the heart of a great many of my favorite plots in fiction. But beyond that it seems to me that migration, as an idea of motion, is inextricable from good fiction. Your characters must change—they must move, psychically at least, from point A to point B—and the plot must move forward.
This year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction has gone to Jennifer Egan's much praised A Visit From the Goon Squad.
“I think the single most defining characteristic of a writer” – I found myself saying to a friend the other day, when she asked my thoughts on the teaching of writing – “I mean the difference between a writer and someone who ‘wants to be a writer,’ is a high tolerance for uncertainty.”
Sometimes I wish I were that man in the Twilight Zone episode who finds himself in the ruins of a public library, with lots of food and all the time in the world to read all the books he wants.
Four books move on to the Hall of Fame and six books debut on the list.
Our distinguished panel selected 20 incredible books as their Best of the Millennium (So Far). What were our readers' favorites from the decade now coming to a close?
I grabbed it, flipped open to the directed page--and found there one perfect sentence.
Pynchon and Bolaño hit the list. Plus, two new Hall of Fame inductees.
The woman reading Bolaño switched halfway through my ride to a Kindle. I'm not making this up.