Quick Hits

April 23, 2015

A Conversation with a Stranger: Or, The Second Time I Tried to Read ‘War and Peace’ 1

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Last month, when I started reading War and Peace again, this time with the intention of finishing it, I decided that I would do so methodically, opening the book at least once every day, and not closing it until I’d finished a chapter.

April 6, 2015

That Witch! An Excerpt from ‘Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen’ 0

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The image of the copy editor is of someone who favors a rigid consistency, a mean person who enjoys point­ing out other people’s errors, a lowly person who is just starting out on her career in publishing and is eager to make an impres­sion, or, at worst, a bitter, thwarted person who wanted to be a writer.

March 26, 2015

Exclusive First Look: Lauren Groff’s ‘Fates and Furies’ 2

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Fates and Furies has so far been cryptically described as “an exhilarating novel about marriage, creativity, art, and perception,” and as, you’ll see, the book wastes no time introducing us to its protagonists.

February 4, 2015

Exclusive: The Opening Lines of Garth Risk Hallberg’s ‘City on Fire’ 2

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Right now, Hallberg and the book are being featured at the ABA’s annual Winter Institute, a sort of Davos for independent booksellers.

January 16, 2015

The Last English Teacher 12

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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 9

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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.