“There’s no doubt that Life A User’s Manual takes an approach to depicting reality that is very different from the standard realist novel, which we have been conditioned to believe is the best and most-preferred way of representing our world…Though not without its enlightening aspects, this conversation has generally fallen into a simplistic dichotomy, where realist writing is described as giving us the real world of everyday life, and anything other than realist writing is seen as directing its energies toward a vague something that no one cares to define very well.” A look at Oulipo and its legacy from Lauren Elkin and Scott Esposito, who recently wrote an Oulipo-themed Year in Reading for us.
On this date 109 years ago, a cartoonist first paired the letter "Z" to the act of sleeping, beating out other attempts to write out the sound of slumber such as the tenacious "g-r-r-k-k-k-k" and the elegant "z-z-z-c-r-r-k-k-k-k."
“I am so grateful for this tool in my writer’s toolkit. It has liberated both me and my texts from an overbearing approach to 'getting it right.'” Cara Benson for the Amazon Author Insights blog (full disclosure: Amazon helps us pay the bills over here!) on the benefits of writing and revising by hand. And she's not the only one who likes to go manual.
“What people call you shapes how you see yourself, and teaches you how to navigate the world. But the moment you name something, you limit the possibilities of what it can be.” Marie Elia, who was trained as a cataloguing librarian, argues that our biases affect the way we describe books at Queen Mob’s Teahouse. Pair with our essay on “A Library of the Mind.”