Essays Archives - Page 2 of 88 - The Millions

April 27, 2016

Life Is Short and This Book Is Long: Two Thoroughly Modern Women Continue to Discuss ‘David Copperfield’ 19


I still have 200 pages to go and I can barely remember what it’s like to truly love a book. I am so behind and the book is starting to feel endless. Every night I tell myself, “Okay, go to bed early. Read for an hour or more.” Then I get in bed, read two pages, and fall asleep at 9 pm or whatever it is.

April 27, 2016

Everybody Stinks: The Life and Work of a Failed Southern Lady 3


Florence King was at heart a Randian libertarian, seeing identity politics as antithetical to her sacred sense of individualism and thus worthy of scorn.

April 25, 2016

Years with Yoko 1


Art is a conversation between you and someone you’ve probably never met, and that conversation can continue for so long.

April 21, 2016

My Pilgrimage to the House of Brontë 3


To live in Haworth during Charlotte Brontë’s time would have made anyone from the 21st century chronically nauseated.

April 19, 2016

Spurn the Translator at Your Own Peril 0


Translators live at a slight remove from the tumult of the real world, in worlds with their own variety of tumult; they see life through a prism of literature. Their days are filled with another person’s mind, other people’s worlds.

April 14, 2016

Anita Brookner, Queen of the Damned 1


Nothing much happens in these books; people go to the shop, they return to their quiet flats, they eat a little, they make tea, they think. Sometimes they visit the hairdresser or a museum. Sometimes someone dies, and there’s a quiet funeral.

April 7, 2016

Fiction Must Be Fed: On Margaret Cavendish, Frida Kahlo, and Marie Curie 1


What does it mean to be a female artist, or really an artist of any kind? Like Athena emerging from Zeus’s head fully formed, Cavendish and Kahlo emerge from these books as mentor-mothers, born again in imagination and time.

March 17, 2016

Historical Fiction and the New Literary Taboo 15


Both Alexander Chee and Shawna Yang Ryan took nearly 15 years to complete their novels. Labor on this scale is perhaps the exact antithesis of the genre model of fiction writing — with the rapacious, regular demands of the marketplace. The bruising deadlines, the concept-driven, pre-packaged product.

March 14, 2016

Bookjacked: Why We Can’t Have Arabic Books in America 10


I live in a world where you may need to wait half a year, and be extorted, to get a novel that won the “Arabic Booker.” This is disastrous and shameful, because the flow of books in the other direction is so easy and direct.

March 10, 2016

Gravity’s Rainbow: A Love Story 11


I don’t want to talk about dick jokes, here. I want to talk about Pynchon’s love stories.