Curiosities

February 3, 2016

Words & Symbols 0

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Mairead Small Staid writes on the history and poetics of the ampersand, “a logogram masquerading as a letter, a letter that is also a word—like a and I and even o, but no—a letter that is only a word, the plainest word of all.”

February 3, 2016

Secret Space 0

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Recommended Reading: Over at Aeon, Tiffany Jenkins writes about the importance of secrets for a child’s development and in children’s literature.

February 3, 2016

Literary Street Art 0

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Emily Smith discusses the place of zines in contemporary American politics, over at Ploughshares. As she puts it, “Zines, like street art, are allowed critical power through anonymity—a function newsstand periodicals simply can’t perform for the sake of reputation or the sacrifice of advertisers. In this way, zines are small-scale democracies.”

February 3, 2016

PEN Literary Awards Shortlist 0

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PEN America has announced the shortlist of this year’s PEN literary awards. The 2016 finalists include Millions contributors Angela Flournoy, Katrina Dodson, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and David L. Ulin, among others.

February 3, 2016

Language, the Savior 0

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At The Guardian, Jhumpa Lahiri recounts the path that led her to write her latest book in Italian, one of the most anticipated books of 2016. As she puts it, “A week after arriving [in Rome], I open my diary to describe our misadventures and I do something strange, unexpected. I write my diary in […]

February 2, 2016

The Purpose of Punctuation 0

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Recommended Reading: Artist Nicholas Rougeux removes all the letters in a text and meditates on the punctuation that is left on the page.

February 2, 2016

Choose Life 0

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“The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish […]

February 2, 2016

Ready, Set, Goals 0

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Octavia Butler did everything she set herself to do in this ambitious to-do list—courtesy of the Butler Archive at the Huntington Library in San Marino.

February 2, 2016

A Book about Beauty 0

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In his latest Year in Reading, Chigozie Obioma told us about Eka Kurniawan’s Beauty Is a Wound, “the howling masterpiece of 2015…a howl, an outrage, and a sheer burst of particular talent.” In an illuminating interview for Electric Literature, Kurniawan discusses the label “magic realism,” epic creation, and his ideas for his next novel.

February 2, 2016

On Hunger 0

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Alexander Chee has a stunning new story in Guernica. He writes, “I wanted to eat and so I learned to sing…It took more than a witch to make a singer out of me.” Pair with Claire Cameron’s Millions interview with the author about his new novel, The Queen of the Night.