Essays Archives - Page 3 of 111 - The Millions

August 7, 2017

The Soft Colonization of Small Territories 0

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There is something calming about crafting a sense of comfort in a place outside of my control.

August 3, 2017

In Search of Lost Words: Novels on Dementia 1

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Grief is not something to be avoided.

August 3, 2017

Sexy Backs and Headless Women: A Book Cover Manifesto 13

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The messaging is clear. These covers are code for “women’s fiction”—i.e. breezy, easy, accessible. For many women authors who don’t happen to write breezy fiction, we feel caught in a double bind, with a cover that demeans the book in the eyes of the literary establishment while also promising readers a kind of book we didn’t necessarily write.

August 2, 2017

Why We Read and Why We Write 4

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What we gain by reading is what we often strive for in life when we’re actually thinking about what we want.

August 1, 2017

Nicknames I Have Known (Or: An Elegy for the Mooch) 1

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There was Joe Bugs, an exterminator and small-town mayor, whose one daughter married my uncle. There was Ernie the Attorney, who grew up with Pop and became the family lawyer. There was Satellite Bob, who installed and fixed his televisions for decades. There was Video Bob, too (before my time), and there was Ralphie Boy (a hefty man, so large and so old, it’s nearly impossible to imagine him as a child).

July 31, 2017

Chronicling Life’s White Machine 10

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It is not hard to mentally recast writers as social media types: Knausgaard, the maximalist oversharer; Lerner, the pomo ironic; Cusk, the reticent philosopher; Heti, the more traditional diarist.  

July 28, 2017

Requiem for a Reader 2

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My first memory of my father as a reader was him telling me to hurry up; it was almost time to silflay.

July 27, 2017

When Capitalism and Christianity Collide in Fiction 2

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According to a recent study, 38 percent of Christians say “capitalism is at odds with Christian values.” Those findings echo a stubborn tension between Christianity and capitalism in American life, an uneasiness that shows up repeatedly in American fiction.

July 27, 2017

Brevity Is the Soul of It: In Praise of Short Books 4

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Short books are not narratives, but devices: instead of the telescope of a long novel or history tome, they are a pair of sunglasses, allowing you to see the world, briefly and temporarily, in a different shade.

July 25, 2017

Apocalypse Then: Meet the Original Rapture Novels 11

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Whether I believed the Antichrist would actually posses a ruby laser ring that harnessed the power of the sun into “a devastating laser beam of destruction” that could wipe out buildings in a poof, I definitely believed the Antichrist would show up and have lots of tricks up his sleeve. And I didn’t want to stick around for it. I wanted to be raptured.