Essays Archives - Page 31 of 104 - The Millions

November 21, 2014

Pineapples in a Hothouse: Writing Culture in ‘Dear Committee Members’ and ‘Twilight of the Eastern Gods’ 3


As a promising Albanian writer, Kadare was invited to Moscow, where he met the odd mix of Party sycophants and belles-lettrists that was the Soviet intelligentsia.

November 20, 2014

Sex and the Single Librarian 9


One of the frustrations of being a librarian is the occupational stereotyping. Librarians tend to be depicted in books and movies as elderly spinsters, rigid and frigid. More recently, in a predictable attempt to subvert convention, the slutty librarian trope has emerged: young, hot-blooded, yet not exempt from the cats-eye glasses.

November 18, 2014

Magical Thinking: Talent and the Cult of Craft 49


As creative writing education continues to expand from a narrow field pursued by a devoted few to a profitable industry employing thousands, perhaps we should pause a moment to reflect on precisely what is being sold and what assumptions underlie the transaction.

November 11, 2014

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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