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  • Recommended Reading: On Chuck Tingle, self-published writer of gay erotica, who beat the notorious Sad Puppies at their own game: “Question: If you could pick a single writer to make an effective, compassionate statement about identity politics to a divided literary community, who would you pick? Would it be a schizophrenic, autistic person who’d authored an e-book called Space Raptor Butt Invasion?”


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    ~Brian Etling
  • “Let the buppie and the arts section go to hell: Swiss Army Man is a film by which critics ought to judge ourselves. We have seen this movie before, in our dreams, when we were children. Its extraordinary contact with our oldest forms of storytelling seems to have rendered it an unintelligible novelty, but if we can’t see how gracefully everything in it matters to everything else in it — plot to character development to dialogue to music to art direction to setting to acting to cinematography — then there’s something wrong with us.” Daniel Radcliffe stars as a semi-animate, gas-filled corpse with amnesia in Swiss Army Man — a movie about farts. But what else is it about?


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    ~Brian Etling
  • Recommended Listening: On NPR’s All Things Considered, Petra Mayer offers advice to “literature’s unpunished villains.”


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • “If only we could talk! Like the evening before last, I had actually just stayed the night at the house where I’d been drinking, purely and simply because they didn’t want me to drive back drunk. But I couldn’t tell you that, because telling you would have suggested that you minded; and that’s the kind of minding we never talk of. We only either kid each other about it, or get angry.” The love letters of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (one of the first openly gay relationships in Hollywood) are delicate and beautiful.


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    ~Brian Etling
  • Recommended Reading: On Elizabeth Bishop’s secret writings.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • “Is grief a condition of love? Does grief prevent us from making peace within ourselves and with each other?” For the Kenyon Review, Rosebud Ben-Oni writes on grief as waiting. Pair with Lidia Yuknavitch’s Millions essay on grief and art.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • This one goes out to all the visual learners out there. Here’s a helpful, illustrated guide to writing scenes and stories with Jeff VanderMeer, author of the bestselling Southern Reach Trilogy. Bonus: here’s an interview by VanderMeer with author Richard House from earlier this year.


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    ~Brian Etling
  • If you’re the kind of person who might fall asleep while reading a page-turner, you’re not alone. For Read It Forward, Jonathan Russell Clark writes about the challenge of literary sleepiness. For more of his writing, check out his essay on the art of the final sentence for The Millions.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • Can Google help translate a novel? Over at Publishers Weekly, Esther Allen explores Google Translates’ linguistic abilities. Also check out this Millions essay about translators at work.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • Recommended Listening: Poet Rachel Zucker speaks with Erika Meitner about straight-forward poetics and poetry as a tool for social justice.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • “But artifacts cannot speak for themselves; the meaning of a museum is determined by acts of interpretation.” Year in Reading alumnus Vinson Cunningham writes on the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato
  • Over at Aeon, Jenny Davidson explores what makes a great sentence. As she puts it, “A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.” Pair with our own Michael Bourne’s essay on sentence structure for creative writers.


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    ~Bruna Dantas Lobato

Read More The Millions Top 10 July 2016