Thanks to Jane Friedman, the Virginia Quarterly Review is really blossoming of late when it comes to social media and increased web presence. Case in point: these once-a-week poem posters on their Facebook page. Extra case in point: the sort-of-not-so-secret Tumblr they’re working on!
"To survive, we learned to be great actresses. We cocked our heads just so, we laughed with just the right lilt, we batted our eyelashes and pursed our lips. Sometimes we were innocent, weak and in need of protection; other times we teased and tortured, until our customers raged for release." Beautiful new fiction by Karissa Chen for Catapult.
“Will excessive drinking unleash your creative energy? Who can say?” Over at The Toast, intrepid cataloger Ren Arcamone has compiled a list of things you could be doing instead of writing your thesis. Go read it instead of writing your thesis. Continue the stay of essay execution and check out Mallory Ortberg’s hilarious (and helpful) guide to some common signs that you might be dying in a Victorian novel.
"I lost the first good novel I ever wrote to a computer disaster. It happened at a crucial time in my life. I was working nights, living in a mouse-infested tenement in Giuliani-era Harlem and still figuring out if I could even do this thing — become a writer for real." Mat Johnson on NPR's All Tech Considered blog about the ultimate authorial nightmare, and how he recovered from it. Pair with our review of Johnson's latest novel, Loving Day.
We've been following the YA debate quite attentively - I wrote about it just last week - but Sarah Burnes's addition to the conversation, a blog post for The Paris Review, is one of the most eloquent I've read. In defense of reading YA fiction as a "grown-up" she writes, "The binary between children’s and adult fiction is a false one, based on a limited conception of the self. I have not ceased to be the person I was when I was an adolescent; in fact, to think so seems to me like a kind of dissociation from a crucial aspect of one’s self. And the critic should be concerned with what is good and what is bad, what is art and what is not—not with what’s 'appropriate.'"
Following the news that Beyoncé sampled a TED talk given by Year in Reading contributor Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Tin House dug up an interview with the author, who says that to this day, when she looks at the manuscript of Americanah, she feels “thrilled and amazed that [she] actually finished writing this.”
The British critic, essayist, and novelist John Berger died yesterday at his home in France, reports The New York Times. Probably best known for his book of art-criticism-as-philosophy Ways of Seeing, which was turned into a popular BBC series and sold more than a million copies, Berger also won the Booker prize for G. in 1972 and was nominated again in 2008 for an epistolary novel, From A to X. The Guardian has rounded up some of his quotes, including the apt-feeling "[h]ope is not a form of guarantee; it’s a form of energy, and very frequently that energy is strongest in circumstances that are very dark.”