Jacob Silverman tackles the niceness epidemic besieging literary criticism at the moment. Where have the hatchet jobs gone? Is social media’s “communalism” robbing critics of their fangs? Each time a publication refuses to print a negative review, the act amounts to “a victory for a publicist, but not for readers,” he writes. (Just a few notes: Silverman’s piece is based on a blog post he wrote recently; Emma Straub has responded on her own blog; and, for what it’s worth, our own Michael Bourne’s recent review of Richard Ford’s Canada was pretty toothy.)
At one time considered to be the work of demons or incubi, sleep paralysis – the “transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia” – has since become accepted as a well-documented and not very uncommon phenomenon. Still, “the experience can be terrifying,” writes Karen Emslie in her recent piece about making the best of the condition.
Julia Fierro discusses her new book Cutting Teeth and the anxiety of privileged Americans in the digital age with Tin House. “They should be happy, but they aren’t, and they are aware that they are not and that they should be, and this awareness makes them loathe themselves.”
“By having children, I’ve both sabotaged and saved myself as a writer… Many of the writers I love most were alcoholics. I’ve made my choice, I sometimes think: Wonderful children instead of hard liquor.” The Paris Review interviews Louise Erdrich for its Winter issue.