“A must-read for: anyone who has grappled with mood disorders/And: anyone interested in the nature of creativity/And: anyone interested in insightful stories told with honesty, pathos, and wit.” On Ellen Forney’s Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo & Me.
“Contemporary criticism is positively crowded with first-person pronouns, micro-doses of memoir, brief hits of biography. Critics don’t simply wrestle with their assigned cultural object; they wrestle with themselves, as well. Recent examples suggest a spectrum, from reviews that harmlessly kick off with a personal anecdote, to hybrid pieces that blend literary criticism and longform memoir.” On why critics get personal in their essays.
“Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I myself was no stranger to being othered.” Over at The Literary Hub, Carla Bruce-Eddings recounts some reading lessons from her teenage self. For a bit of perspective from the other side, here’s our own Nick Ripatrazone on teaching high school and college.
In spite of the title of her blog post, Lily Meyer doesn’t think Ann Patchett is really an enemy of Zadie Smith. Instead, she thinks the two authors play opposing roles in her life, thanks largely to the different effects their books have on her perceptions. At the Ploughshares blog, she contrasts their novels, using excerpts from White Teeth and Bel Canto. Related: Kevin Charles Redmon’s review of Patchett’s novel State of Wonder.
At Page-Turner, our own Mark O’Connell notes “a thrilling obscenity” in the works of Gonçalo M. Tavares, a Portuguese writer whose recent novel, Jerusalem, depicts a character with schizophrenia. A lesser-known symptom of the illness, apparently, is a tendency to treat inanimate objects like conscious (and social) beings. (We wrote about Tavares back in March.)