Quick Hits

January 16, 2015

The Last English Teacher 8

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It is possible to be cold-hearted and teach, but why do so? Students experience enough private pain some days to fill a lifetime. Literature can be the salve for a weary heart.

January 13, 2015

Aliens, Mermaids, and Other Flights of Fancy 1

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Half-human creatures are vehicles for reconciling our species on the continuum of other beasts. Monsters are projections of an atavistic unease — born of the sense that something bigger and badder is out to get us. These stories get weird and totally out-of-hand, but they never end.

November 11, 2014

The View from My Window is a Constant Reminder 1

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I love repetition. I love doing the same thing at the same time and in the same place, day in and day out.

July 25, 2014

How to be James Joyce, or the Habits of Great Writers 9

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Eudora Welty edited her writing with scissors in hand to cut out and re-pin sections of text. Truman Capote fancied himself a horizontal writer: he would only work lying down, with a glass of sherry close at hand. Anthony Trollope maintained a rather more industrial regimen, beginning his day promptly at 5:30 a.m. and pacing himself with a watch to write 250 words every 15 minutes.

July 22, 2014

Exclusive: David Mitchell’s Twitter Story “The Right Sort” Collected 8

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The Bone Clocks is coming in September, but David Mitchell gave readers an early taste of something new last week, tweeting out a short story called “The Right Sort” over the course of roughly seven days. The Millions now exclusively has the entire story, collected in one place.

April 28, 2014

Screens on the Subway: The Rolling Library Is Going Digital 4

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When we talk about books, we tend to think in terms of great works of art and forget that for most people books are merely a handy thing to have around for that idle moment when there isn’t something else better to do. Now those idle moments are being filled by screens.

February 27, 2014

Just (Un)Like Me: On Our Favorite Characters 3

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The most powerful reading experiences I’ve had all happened when I was seduced into the specific and alien lives of characters who are not like me at all. Characters who do things I would never do.

February 26, 2014

Like, OMG! ‘Like’ Is, Like, Totally Cool, Linguist Says 22

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There used to be a time when my story might have been: ‘I saw her enter the room and I was terrified that she would recognize me and so I crouched down.’ Which is actually sort of boring. But now you can tell that as: ‘I saw her, and I was like, oh my god! I was like, what if she sees me? I was like, oh my god, I’ve gotta hide. I was like, what am I supposed to say to her?’

February 4, 2014

Oh, The Favorites You’ll Give: Literary Twitter’s Best Tweets 8

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To present literary Twitter in its best possible light, we are returning again to those most widely followed on literary Twitter, but this time, looking at which Tweets got the most favorites, we are highlighting literary Twitter’s best tweets.

January 7, 2014

Commercial Grammar 47

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On the spectrum of world problems that need bemoaning, is bad grammar really one of them? Yes. Yes it is.