Lists

April 22, 2015

Hinge of History: Nine Books for the Post-Ferguson Era 4

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These nine books, some new, some decades old, shed light on the history and evolution of racism in America.

April 8, 2015

To Fall in Love with a Reader, Do This 4

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Several months ago, The New York Times published an article about a 36-question interview devised to make strangers fall in love. The questions presented here are designed with a more modest goal: to have an interesting conversation about books.

March 18, 2015

Five Ways Being a Writer and Professional Skateboarder Are the Same 3

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The boundary between mental and physical pain is very permeable. I managed to break a small bundle of bones, but I’d take fracturing my wrist over working doggedly for four years on a novel before realizing in one grisly flash that it is utterly unsalvageable.

February 24, 2015

To Be Eaten in Case of Emergency: Inspiration and Comfort for Writers 8

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I asked a few writers to share what visuals they kept near them while working. Perhaps what they keep near them as they make sentences will inspire you to get writing, too.

February 23, 2015

The End of the End: Writers on Last Lines 2

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Writing the final pages of a novel is difficult enough, but then comes the final challenge. It’s the end of the end, the last stop on the line, the dazzling dismount: a damn good closing sentence.

February 19, 2015

Outside the Neighborhood: Reading Italy Through Elena Ferrante 6

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The next and final installment of the Neapolitan novels will be brought out in English this year. In the meantime, here are a few suggestions for those hungering for more of Ferrante’s dark Naples and Italian feminist heroines.

February 12, 2015

The New China: A Syllabus 5

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Writing about another culture is like being the central figure in a Franz Kafka novel: You need to understand you’re guilty even before you’ve been convicted, even before you can articulate what you’re guilty of. And you must live with the knowledge of that guilt and absorb it into your project rather than seeking to expunge it.

January 26, 2015

The Page 40 Test 17

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But by paying close attention to how a writer constructs sentences, we can begin to see how the larger structure of the novel is built.

January 6, 2015

Get to Work: On the Best Advice Writers Ever Received 7

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I recently spoke with a range of authors who shared the best piece of writing advice they ever received. Some answers were brief and memorizable, some were longer and drew me into the author’s world and creative process.

January 5, 2015

Most Anticipated: The Great 2015 Book Preview 24

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At 9,000 words strong and encompassing 91 titles, this is the only 2015 book preview you will ever need.