Essays Archives - Page 30 of 102 - The Millions

November 11, 2014

I Just Didn’t Like Her: Notes on Likeability in Fiction 30

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Lately, I’ve been thinking: If I were a fictional character, would readers hate me?

November 10, 2014

Reading Together Even While Reading Alone 12

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You cannot remove a book from the List until you’ve read it entirely—because until the last paragraph, anything can happen.

November 5, 2014

Infuriating, Possibly Illuminating: On ‘The List of Books’ 2

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What sets The List apart are the thirteen Michelin Guide-type symbols (a magnifying glass, an American flag, an armchair, etc.) that Raphael and McLeish used to flag titles as (for example) a “major masterpiece,” a “seminal work that changed our thinking,” and “a particular pleasure to read.”

November 4, 2014

The Boy Who Would Be Crichton 4

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That Crichton’s magnum opus involved dinosaurs – my other great childhood obsession – seemed to dictate that my own should, too. The rest, I assumed, would come naturally to a prodigious talent such as myself.

November 3, 2014

Almost Famous 1

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It wasn’t just that no one wanted to embarrass themselves by fainting or kissing Keith Richards’ boots; it was that we all felt the need to guard against the possibility that his super-abundant existence might envelop our own.

November 3, 2014

What to Read When You’re Not Expecting 4

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I was trying to reassure myself that whatever was happening to me was common enough, normal enough, to easily crop up in my regular life reading.

October 31, 2014

The Art of Terror: Robert Aickman’s Strange Tales 4

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We might be blocked from seeing what lies beneath the surface, but we know it’s formidable and chilling.

October 28, 2014

The Timeless – and Timely – Allure of the Near Future 8

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If today’s crop of books, movies and TV shows set in the near future are an accurate barometer, it looks like we’re in for some filthy weather.

October 27, 2014

When Updike Met Barth 8

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Barth continued to express admiration and respect toward Updike. Updike returned the praise, though more often with soft mentions that he hadn’t quite finished Barth’s most recent books.

October 23, 2014

The Art of Dialogue: A Symposium 7

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Everybody, shut up. Now, I realize that a group of writers like yourselves would jump all over the chance to point out the irony of me beginning a symposium on dialogue by telling everyone to shut up, but I don’t want to hear it, okay? Let’s just get this over with. Jane Smiley, let’s begin with you.