Curiosities

March 26, 2015

“Adams” 1

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From The Rumpus, a new short (short) story by George Saunders, excerpted from Life is Short – Art is Shorter: In Praise of Brevity, with an introduction by David Shields and Elizabeth Cooperman.

March 26, 2015

“I hate literature” 0

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Recommended reading: The Guardian reports on Varlam Shalamov, a Russian author who spent 17 years in the harsh camps of the Kolyma gulag, wrote more than 140 short stories, and still claimed ““I hate literature. I do not write memoirs; nor do I write short stories. That is, I try to write not a short story […]

March 26, 2015

A Nation of Poets 0

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“Mr. Walt Whitman has imagined that a certain amount of violent sympathy with the great deeds and sufferings of our soldiers, and of admiration for our national energy, together with a ready command of picturesque language, are sufficient inspiration for a poet. If this were the case, we had been a nation of poets.” A […]

March 25, 2015

Chum Lit 0

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Some of the best novels out there — Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men — deal largely with fictional friendships. Yet depictions of close friends that are central to the plot are considerably rare in modern novels. At The Guardian, AD Miller notes this isn’t the case for movies and TV shows, and suggests a […]

March 25, 2015

“This big, tangled thing” 0

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Recommended Reading: “Another Tuesday” by Tanya Knox.

March 25, 2015

The Spy Who Saved Me 0

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How did Ian Fleming come up with James Bond? It’s easy to think, considering the political context of his era, that Fleming tailored his superspy to be the ideal hero of the Cold War. Yet there’s another, more prosaic explanation — was the author simply having a midlife crisis?

March 25, 2015

Poor Gatsby 0

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The Great Gatsby debuted in 1925 to poor sales and mediocre reviews. So how did it become one of the most famous novels in America? At Slate, Cristina Hartmann explains how Fitzgerald’s opus, which netted the author royalties worth a grand total of $13 in his lifetime, went on to become a classic. Related: our own Bill Morris […]

March 24, 2015

Light Us Up 0

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For whatever reason, the Zippo lighter has earned a place as an icon of Americana, a symbol of everything simple and reliable in the country. At the Ploughshares blog, Nancy McCabein pays a visit to the Zippo Museum, punctuating her account with quotes from works of literature that feature the lighter.

March 24, 2015

“You hurry the day when Colum McCann serves you a chalupa” 0

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“Hey, I noticed you checking out my tote bag. I’m sure you see a lot of totes on the train, all about food co-ops or public radio or theater repertory companies. But me, I use this expanse of unbleached cotton-canvas blend to say one thing: I love books.”

March 24, 2015

The Case of the Aching Wallet 0

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We’ve published a fair number of articles on the issue of finance and employment in a writer’s life. In general, writers assume that the ideal source of income, at least as far as it concerns their own careers, is one that leaves them free of worries and blessed with ample time. In the latest Bookends, Mohsin […]