Quick Hits

September 24, 2015

In the Sandbox of Words: On Puzzles and Novels 1


Crosswords are about more than accumulating words: crosswords are about having fun with words; crosswords are, in fact, about loving words.

August 14, 2015

How Does it Feel? On Finishing a Book 0


It’s relieving, it’s gratifying, it’s sad, but above all, it’s weird.

August 6, 2015

Beyond the Bird: A Definitive List of the Artworks in ‘The Goldfinch’ 0


The entire art world falls under Tartt’s gaze: criticism, heists, trades, valuations, appreciation.

April 23, 2015

A Conversation with a Stranger: Or, The Second Time I Tried to Read ‘War and Peace’ 2


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


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


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’ 4


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


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


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


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