Essays Archives - Page 72 of 104 - The Millions

July 14, 2011

What Harry Potter Knows 25


This is one of those weeks in which everyone talks about Harry Potter, and in which it’s tempting to be that writer, you know that writer, who does the jaded contrarian take on it all.

July 12, 2011

Megan Abbott, Literary Criminal 6


Abbott isn’t merely a poster girl for this increasingly progressive atmosphere surrounding “genre.” Her novels are distinguished by rhythmic prose, historical settings , and a candor about the way people live.

July 7, 2011

The Year of Wonders 45


It was midday on a Monday in early August of the year 2000 and the bidding on my first novel had reached six figures, then paused for people to track down more cash. I was 32. I’d never made over $12,000 in a year.

June 21, 2011

On Bad Blurbs and the Heavy Lightness of Yates’s The Easter Parade 12


The blurby back-cover declarations struck me as so off-pitch, that they in fact helped me to clarify for myself just what I think The Easter Parade is, and isn’t.

June 17, 2011

Philip K. Dick and the Pleasures of Unquotable Prose 16


Dick’s novels feel like labor, as though they are tabulating the results of some desperate experiment.

June 17, 2011

Cliffhanger: On Extreme Survival Books 7


This plotline rarely changes; the details are grisly, the scenarios harrowing. Yet we can’t get enough of such stories.

June 15, 2011

On Not Going Out of the House: Thoughts About Plotlessness 14


If life keeps “flowing, always flowing, smashing everything” as it rushes toward the ocean of death, the desire to scramble for the bank and sit the whole thing out on dry land is understandable.

June 13, 2011

Lighting the Way: On Mentoring and Being Mentored 3


I am thankful for each of my mentors and what they’ve offered me at different points in my life as a writer. I don’t want to imagine what I might not have attempted, creatively and professionally, were it not for their support and enthusiasm, their benevolent shadows.

June 9, 2011

Daughter of California 11


Pitch dirt onto a parent’s dead body and in that second understand that bits of dirt just became as much part of the parent as any other bit you might hold onto: a snapshot, a clock with bent hands, shoes still bearing the imprint of feet, ties scented with stale aspiration.

June 8, 2011

Consequential Literature and Petty Theft 11


The first time was nerve-racking, a rush, but by the third book I was already settling in.  My browsing time shortened.  My forehead didn’t sweat.  I feared getting caught not because I was committing a punishable crime, but because I was committing a strange and possibly subversive act, because getting caught would force me to explain, to divulge my secret self.