Essays Archives - Page 31 of 88 - The Millions

September 12, 2013

Letter of the Law: On J.D. Salinger, Unpublished Works, and US Copyright 3

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Curiously, though, under all three sets of rules — copyright, fair use, and most archive policies — I am free to use my iPad to take good resolution images of unpublished manuscripts so long as I don’t share them publicly. Who can say if this extends to the privacy of my own home where I might convert an unused closet into a Salinger shrine? Such is the fickleness of U.S. copyright law.

September 12, 2013

The Homeland of Stories: On Lingual and Cultural Identity 0

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Can an identity that expresses itself in two separate ways — through two languages and in two cultures — be said to be authentic? If your identity flickers between Greek and American, what exactly is your identity, and how do you designate it?

September 11, 2013

The St. Louis Invasion: Jonathan Franzen’s The Twenty-Seventh City at Twenty-Five 4

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Jonathan Franzen’s deeply ambivalent portrait of St. Louis in The Twenty-Seventh City is in some ways the dark twisted fantasy of a native son. After almost a decade here, I understand how this city could have driven him nuts and broken his heart.

September 3, 2013

The Signifying Life: In Praise of the Outward-Looking Memoir 4

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Memoir at its very best is the start of a conversation. It makes its interest in readers explicit, offering not just a series of life events, but a deliberate suggestion of what it is to be a human being – to experience confusion, despair, hope, joy, and all that happens in between.

August 30, 2013

Chasing the Light: On Not Quitting the Writing Life 5

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What is it that can still seize me, after years of failure, and make me seek to write, to make art? I have no idea. All I know is that I do not have it in me to give up.

August 28, 2013

An Unlikely Speaker: On Stuttering and the Memoir 3

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Writing a vivid book about stuttering, a book that people read in the privacy of their own lives, is only one level of vulnerability. Standing up to speak about that book, while experiencing the sensation of stuttering and bearing witness to all the immediate reactions that evokes, is quite another.

August 28, 2013

These Boots Aren’t Made for Walking 6

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Square-toe, mid-calf, 4-inch all-rubber chunky heels. Red. For the month of August, these have been my writing boots. What: don’t you have a pair of writing boots?

August 27, 2013

On The Pleasures and Solitudes of Quiet Books 24

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“Books are solitudes in which we meet,” Rebecca Solnit wrote. But before the meeting comes the solitude, the book as a private space that a reader steps into, and there are moments when escaping into a book is a bid for some measure of seclusion. If the solitude you crave at the moment is a quiet one, here’s a short reading list of quiet books that I’ve recently read and admired.

August 27, 2013

Racetrack Diary: On Luck 5

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It is easy, after the fact, to draw neat lines between events, to look for cause and effect in random acts of chance. But then you spend a while sitting behind the betting windows, watching assholes blithely cashing huge tickets, or informing sweet old ladies that they’ve lost a week’s savings.

August 22, 2013

Goodbye Old Friends: On Selling My Books 17

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But I must come clean. As fun as it is to get a sale, my currently listed volumes are moving at a pace which would take some 70 years to empty my e-store. Of course, that’s assuming people will continue to prize certain books: great out-of-print novels, first editions, volumes signed by the author. As e-books continue to take market share, paper books may be destined to become decorative objects, like cupboards built to hold commodes or vinyl album covers.