Millions favorite Geoff Dyer, author of Otherwise Known as the Human Condition, is going to start writing a column for The New York Times‘ Book Review. “Reading Life” will detail “the ups and down of his long relationship with the written word. What do we do to books and what do books do to us? How do they delight and derange?” His first column can be found here.
Joshua Rothman writes for The New Yorker about Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, privacy and “a gift that you’ve been given, which you must hold onto and treasure but never open.”
Last Friday, the writer Emily Rapp’s three-year-old son Ronan passed away from Tay-Sachs disease. Because Emily is part of the greater Rumpus family, the site is honoring Ronan’s memory by publishing a tribute by her friend Jennifer Pastiloff. They’re also encouraging people to help fight Tay-Sachs disease here.
Suzan-Lori Parks wrote a play every day during Trump’s first 100 days as president which will be published next year as 100 Plays for the First Hundred Days. She talks to American Theatre about why she decided to undertake such a project, how difficult the process was and the importance of showing up and being present. Includes excerpts from the book.
You might think the signs would be obvious. The buildings are organic, the sky is filled with dragons, and everyone you talk to speaks languages you’ve never heard of. But you may still need some help figuring out your environs. Herewith, a few ways to tell if you’re in a high-fantasy novel.
“To get me through a 550-page collection, the stories must be very good indeed. These are.” When Lionel Shriver participated in our Year in Reading ritual several years back, she dedicated her reading diary to William Trevor, who just passed away. “Trevor’s writing is so perfect that you don’t even notice it’s perfect,” she wrote. “He mainlines pure narrative directly into your veins. The words never get in the way; the words, like their author, disappear.”
“Start with the novel’s climax (often the first thing you know about it, its most striking moment) and work backward, asking why-why-why. Then write forward.” Nell Zink at The Lithub on how to become a novelist in 10 easy steps. See also our interview with Zink from last week.