Year in Reading contributor Kevin Smokler’s new essay collection, Practical Classics, explores the benefits of revisiting the first books you read (even if you hated them). In fact, the difficult and excruciating books have a particular value. “Books aren’t all supposed to be our best friends,” says Smokler in a new Rumpus interview. “Sometimes they’re supposed to be that difficult friend who encourages us to do things that we don’t feel are rational or grown-up.”
Want to know what what Freddy Krueger’s reading? On his Twitter feed, actor (and author!) Robert Englund reports his favorite reads. Recently: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan and The Singer’s Gun by The Millions contributor Emily St. John Mandel.
Why do articles go viral? At The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova traces what makes a popular story all the way back to Aristotle, but today’s clickbait has two features: a positive message or an ability to excite the reader emotionally. This probably explains why we love those articles about puppies. Pair with: Our piece on if book titles were written for clicks.
There are many possible answers to the question “where do you write?”, but one of the strangest, and most unexpected, has to be “I don’t know.” At The Rumpus, Brendan Constantine admits that he doesn’t write in any one place, and that his memory for where he’s written before is “completely unreliable.” We surveyed our own staff a couple years ago to see how they answered the question.
You can purchase Norman Mailer’s Provincetown home for the cool price of $3.9 million. The house was previously used for the Norman Mailer Center’s Summer Writers Colony, which Millions contributor A. Igoni Barrett attended and wrote about for Electric Literature.