Those of you who know the joy of reading romance novels with your friends have probably wondered at some point what people who write erotica are like. Are they bankers and professionals? Housewives and mistresses? Are they some combination of all of the above? At Slate, a chaste look at the lives of unchaste writers.
Junot Díaz has criticized MFA programs for being "too white." So what's on his syllabi? Salon found the syllabi for the two courses Díaz teaches at MIT. In his fantasy world-building class, students read everyone from Bram Stoker to Octavia Butler. His advanced fiction course includes stories by Edwidge Danticat and Roberto Bolaño. Where can we sign up?
“If Gwendolyn Brooks wrote fiction, we’d say she was brilliant at world-building–but the world she builds is the real one, the part that didn’t used to make it into the pages of literary magazines.” On the continued relevance of Brooks’s poetry in the context of racial violence in Chicago. Pair with a piece on the power of reading poetry aloud.
Masha Gessen (who recently agreed to write a book on the Boston bombers) told a journalist in New Zealand she’s “probably” moving out of Russia. Why? “It’s one thing to bring up your kids in a place that’s risky and difficult; I think in many ways it’s enriching them, and I’m glad my kids have that experience,” she said. “It’s another thing to bring up your kids in a place that’s hopeless. “
The work of Elvio Gandolfo, whose novel Cada vez más cerca ("Each Time Closer") won Argentina's equivalent of the Pulitzer in 2013, is rarely published in English. So it's a special treat to find his magical story about a whale falling out of the sky, newly translated for the anthology A Thousand Forests in One Acorn, available free at Ninth Letter.
While millions of teenage girls and grown women (see the Twilight Moms blog if you don't believe me) wait with bated breath for the November 20th premier of New Moon (see the preview here), the film version of the second installment of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, some less satisfied readers are making movies of their own--movies in which they beat, burn, and otherwise insult copies of Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. See Burn, Twilight, Burn!, Twilight Burning, with Techno, The Twilight Chainsaw Massacre, Twilight Baseball. And that's only for starters. I also like this one, Twilight Burning Party, in which two spunky Ghost World-y young ladies, Cassi and Angel, do a little stand-up literary critique before burning the book.
What should you do if, horror of horrors, you find yourself appearing as a character in someone else's book? Michelle Huneven shares her experience being fictionalized in an essay for The Paris Review. Her advice? "Don’t read too much into it. Cultivate lightness." Pair with our profile of Huneven, "Not Lost, Just Rearranged."