In The Atlantic, Richard Bausch makes a case against writing manuals: “The trouble of course is that a good book is not something you can put together like a model airplane.”
A mom sat her six-year-old daughter down in front of some classic books and asked her to guess the story based on the cover. The results are both charming and eerily accurate. I’m glad we at least now know what lies in the liminal space between Lev Grossman and kittens inspired by kittens.
“So a single image can split open the hard seed of the past, and soon memory pours forth from every direction, sprouting its vines and flowers up around you till the old garden’s taken shape in all its fragrant glory.” Read an excerpt from Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir at Longreads. Pair with Beth Kephart’s essay on how memoir can be a conversation between reader and writer.
Qiu Miaojin was a Taiwanese novelist and lesbian activist, and her short life has had a profound impact on queer literature since her suicide in 1995. Recently Bonnie Huie received a PEN translation grant so she could bring Miaojin’s best-known work, Notes of a Crocodile, to an English-speaking audience. You can read an excerpt of Huie’s translation on the Asian American Writers’ Workshop online publishing platform, The Margins.
Did your MFA program offer impractical courses like “Problems in Modern Fiction”? At the Ploughshares blog, Rebecca Makkai offers some suggestions for more useful classes, such as “Introduction to Despair,” “Pretending You’re Talking to Terry Gross When You’re Alone in the Car,” and “The Art of the Flirty Author Photo Grimace.” Pair with: Our interview with Makkai.
Superagent Andrew (“The Jackal”) Wylie disses the e-book and modern publishing’s “wild weekend in Las Vegas approach” to book acquisition in the Wall Street Journal Magazine. But the best part is an online slide show depicting Wylie’s journey from a wild-eyed hippie cabbie in 1971 to the uberwasp wheeler-dealer that he is today.