Recent Articles

September 8, 2017

Iris Murdoch and the Limits of Language 3

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Words simply don’t do justice to any memory, argument, or work of fiction concocted in the mind. Language is an inadequate but necessary solution for addressing our disparate versions of reality.

September 7, 2017

A Girl with an Expiration Date: On Heather Harpham’s ‘Happiness’ 0

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When you’re living through watch-it-through-your-fingers reality what makes for good escapism? I’d like to make the case for a memoir about life with a mortally ill child. And let me add: I am a new mother.

September 7, 2017

The Millions Top Ten: August 2017 0

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Laurent Binet and Victor LaValle join the list.

September 7, 2017

Racism, Natural History, and Fiction 15

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Natural history is not just a grab bag; it’s not neutral, and it’s important that in fiction it not be allowed to become a playground where white people, characters, and authors can retreat into an allegorical fantasy land, as it has functioned in real life for hundreds of years with extreme consequences.

September 6, 2017

Taking Stock 0

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“I had put manure bags—yes, manure, which is what we could get—at the front and back doors.” Publishers Weekly looks at how Houston-area indie bookstores are faring post-Harvey.

September 6, 2017

A Well-Rounded Curriculum 0

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“I have a girl brain but in a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way!” The Los Angeles Times reports on an elementary-school teacher reading I Am Jazz, written by transgender teenager Jazz Jennings, with her class; encouragingly, not that many parents freak out. Pair with writer T.K. Dalton reflecting on how to traverse […]

September 6, 2017

Getting Out of Her Own Skin: The Millions Interviews Nancy Pearl 1

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Plot is not that important to me. I think what’s always important to me in life and the books I read are the people involved.

September 6, 2017

Missing Fathers: Reading Hisham Matar in Glasgow 1

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Ten years after his disappearance my father remains missing. On the anniversary, I’ve come back to Glasgow to look for him, with Matar’s words for company.

September 5, 2017

The Thriller Code 0

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“Rather than outlining your plot in chronological order, try outlining your plot as if it were a candle burning at both ends. Begin the process by writing your first and last chapter simultaneously.” Amazon Author Insights gathers, well, insights on writing from Dan Brown and other famous crime and thriller novelists. (Full disclosure: Amazon helps us pay […]

September 5, 2017

Literature’s Inherited Trauma: On Jesmyn Ward’s ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’ 2

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By invoking Morrison and Faulkner, Ward excavates not only the suffering of her characters, but also the long tradition of fiction about slavery, fiction that grapples with racial injustice that extends into the present.