George Saunders delivered a little publicized convocation at Syracuse University this year. His main advice to the class of 2013 — be kind. “And so, a prediction, and my heartfelt wish for you: as you get older, your self will diminish and you will grow in love. YOU will gradually be replaced by LOVE,” he said.
Over at The Paris Review, basketball columnist (and really great poet) Rowan Ricardo Phillips has written a compelling essay on Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, hot streaks, and the tenability of genius. Jacob Lambert’s essay on reading about (and not watching) sports is a nice complement.
If you’re struggling to find a book deal, you might want to skip this story because it’ll be so demoralizing: a group of women are making a ton of money by publishing “dinosaur erotica” with titles such as Taken by the T-Rex, Ravished by the Triceratops, and Taken by the Pterodactyl. (Pretty lame, if you ask me, that that last title isn’t spelled “Ptaken…”)
“Why do we love our writing teachers so much? I think it’s because they come along when we need them most, when we are young and vulnerable and are tentatively approaching this craft that our culture doesn’t have much respect for, but which we are beginning to love. They have so much power. They could mock us, disregard us, use us to prop themselves up. But our teachers, if they are good, instead do something almost holy, which we never forget: they take us seriously.” George Saunders offers a timeline of his writing education over at The New Yorker.
“It was only in 1987, when she went to National Taiwan University, that the censorship laws were relaxed. Yet the censorship laws seemed to have an opposing effect on her literary ambitions. ” Meet Qiu Miaojin, the first woman in Chinese literature to come out as openly gay. Ankita Chakraborty at Longreads has more on this remarkable writer.
Recommended (Long) Reading: This lengthy excerpt from the latest book in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series. In it, Knausgaard is introduced to the literary world and stresses a great deal over his own claims to artistic merit: “Deep down, I was decent and proper, a goody-goody, and, I thought, perhaps that was also why I couldn’t write. I wasn’t wild enough, not artistic enough, in short, much too normal for my writing to take off. What had made me believe anything else? Oh, but this was the life-lie.”
Farhad Manjoo thinks corner bookstores are simply comfy and quaint. According to a response by The Christian Science Monitor, he couldn’t be more wrong.