Recommended Reading: Bret Anthony Johnston on (not) writing what you know. His essay is an excerpt of Writer’s Notebook II, published by the folks at Tin House. (Related: we published Harper’s editor Christopher Beha’s essay in the book last year.)
Morrisey, Lauren Groff, and Erica Jong are among the finalists for the 2015 Bad Sex in Fiction award. The award is presented annually by the British magazine Literary Review in an attempt to “draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them.” Past winners include Norman Mailer and John Updike (the sole recipient of a prestigious lifetime achievement award).
"In creative writing, I teach that characters arise out of our need for them. By now, the person I created in New York was the only one I wanted to be. ...Eight years after reaching the end of myself, I was on borrowed time. Whether it was in a plane or a coffin, I knew I had to get out of Jamaica." Marlon James, author of The Book of Night Women, which once gave me so much trouble, and whose novel A Brief History of Seven Killings the Book Report covered here, writes for the New York Times Magazine about leaving Jamaica to find himself in Minnesota.
"Save one life save the world, instructs the Talmud... You can’t save every life. You can’t save every book. But you can at least throw lifelines now and then." Susan Coll writes for The Atlantic about the power of shelving and the importance of staying hopeful, no matter how gloomy publishing becomes.
Why aren’t more people reading Italian literature? Is it due to an English “mistrust of ‘abroad’?” “Linguistic incompetence?” Or is it that “Italy’s not produced much that’s exciting or innovative … for a few hundred years?” Peter Hainsworth, author of Italian Literature: A Very Sort Introduction, investigates.
“We are hermits, that is true. We live in tiny rooms, and we stay in those rooms hours upon hours every day, every month, every year. But we also like to walk around and throw ourselves into big crates of tomatoes, and roll around in them, and then get up all tomato-stained.” Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera talks about living life as a poet (which apparently includes a lot of tomatoes) in an interview with the Guardian.
Do you like listening to music, but often struggle with an appropriate drink order? Enter Drinkify, a website which suggests cocktails based on the tunes you’re playing. (I tested it out with The Wu-Tang Clan. It told me to drink “1 bottle of gin.” Do with this information what you must.)