November 25, 2015

The Filmable Miss Highsmith 2


What is it that keeps drawing filmmakers to the fiction of Patricia Highsmith?

November 20, 2015

Alone Together: At Book Riot Live 0


Tucked up in the corners of convention centers, these bookish cons are full of people skipping out on all the programming to read, a curious sort of collective solitude on display.

November 17, 2015

Atlas of Interest: On the Hidden Life of Marginalia 3


Marginalia is a flash of insight or anger, ossified, trapped in literary amber where it can be retrieved for a later reckoning.

November 13, 2015

The Art of the Strange Writing Exercise 8


We need to shake things up in the creative writing classroom. We need to remember that writing is a messy, fractured, intensely personal pursuit that must not be neutered by the institutional needs of our classrooms. One solution is to embrace the strange; one method is to imbue the strange into writing exercises.

November 11, 2015

How the West Was Lost 7


In the end, Ivan Doig & Co. come to very different conclusions about How the West Was Lost, but they share a sense that the loss is as irreversible as it was wrong-headed.

October 30, 2015

Elena Ferrante Names the Devil and Slays the Minotaur 14


Ferrante validates women’s experience in a way that recognizes our common humanity. Her work distinguishes between who we are and the imprint of social class and origins. It may seem a stretch to consider Ferrante in the same breath with Proust, Faulkner, and Dickens, but I’m convinced of her stature as one of the greatest writers and artists of this or any other time.

October 27, 2015

Is Experience Overrated? One Writer’s Checkered Résumé 9


If I wanted to become a novelist, according to Flannery O’Connor, I didn’t need to wander the world harvesting experiences. I needed to contemplate experience and then write about it.

October 26, 2015

In Praise of Cartoon Violence 4


I recently bought a DVD set for my six-year-old son that featured the following offenses: reckless gunplay, the detonation of high explosives, apparent vehicular homicide, assault with a baseball bat, plunges from great heights, electrocutions, jailbreaks, punches, slaps, kicks, and shoves into oncoming traffic. For good measure, there was also a healthy dose of cross-dressing.

October 22, 2015

The Light of Suffering: Thomas Hardy in 21st-Century Florida 4


High school English teachers know two things: adolescence is hard, and the literature you teach should reflect your students’ lives. Therefore, teenagers deserve literature that supplies suffering. For the students living through suffering, Hardy, and writers like him, can locate a student’s suffering and reflect it. That reflection can be a step toward recovery and development.

October 21, 2015

My Art Patrons: A Writer Reflects on Finding a Room of Her Own 3


Thank you to David Partridge and Jim Galbraith, for serving a waitress by acknowledging her as a writer: they gave me a space to work, away from the countless interruptions and distractions of libraries and coffeehouses