At Slate, Katy Waldman asks a simple question: what the heck is the point of the National Book Awards, anyway?
"For a novelist, writing letters is writing that is not writing," Ed Park says of P.G. Wodehouse's collected correspondence, A Life in Letters. The Year in Reading alum goes on to note that "a collection of letters is the unconscious narrative the author generates over the years."
Another phone-related book project: Call Me Ishmael, a site that collects stories about reading and life via voicemail messages. The instructions are simple: call Ishmael at 774-325-0503 and leave him a message "about a book you love and a story you have lived." Several of these messages are transcribed and posted online every week but, if we're being honest, we appreciate this project for the pun as much as for the stories.
"And this is a story about what women can do to each other—why women are cruel to each other, why women don’t reach down and help each other." In conversation for Vanity Fair, Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn talk about female rage, #MeToo, and Sharp Objects, the HBO series based on Flynn's novel. Pair with: Millions staffers Janet Potter and Edan Lepucki talk about Flynn and her novels.
“I’m the one who gets asked, publicly, how I manage to write and teach and have three kids. Do you get those questions, or do people just assume there is a woman doing all of the homemaking so you can go upstairs and write?” Poets Tracy K. Smith and Gregory Pardlo discuss David Bowie vs. Elton John, the confessional vs. the abstract, and the balance between family and work. Also check out Sophia Nguyen’s Millions review of Smith’s new memoir, Ordinary Light.
"Most of all, they don’t tell you that fear, to reverse a phrase from C. S. Lewis, will feel so like grief, and so you begin to mourn what you have not yet lost, because mourning prematurely is the only way to protect yourself from hope." For Catapult, Laura Turner writes about her trio of miscarriages and the hope she lost (and found) along the way. (Turner is a 2017 Year in Reading alum).
"I would argue that decent books coverage in a daily newspaper — especially when it’s presented in such a way that readers are likely to stumble over it and discover titles they might not otherwise have heard of — is more supportive of writers in the long run than a scholarship program." At Salon, Laura Miller explores literary culture and the downsides of the MFA, which include teaching high school.