Last November, the University of Southern California announced that it would stop offering a Masters in Professional Writing, ending a program that counts Richard Yates and Hubert Selby, Jr. among its faculty alumni. At The Nervous Breakdown, Aram Saroyan (son of William) looks back on his time as an instructor.
Recommended Reading: Anne Barngrover’s poem “My Lover Vows to Follow Me Even after He Leaves Me” at Paper Darts. “If trust is to hem your promises/into my jacket lining like folded dollars during/an ice storm, then I have been trusting all my life.”
What does Jonathan Franzen think of the cover for Freedom? What about Charlotte Strick, the book’s designer? Or the photographers that took photos of those trees, of that blue warbler? Talking Covers has collected their thoughts, and plays host to other cover-related conversations besides. Check out this one The Flame Alphabet.
“I had seen enough movies to know that when a knife is tossed by the hero to someone in need, it lands exactly where it should. So I picked up the knife, and I centered myself. ‘Be the hero,’ I whispered.” Caroline Paul’s The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, “part memoir, part manifesto, part aspirational workbook,” encourages everyone to add a little more adventure to their lives. Angela Qian writes about the adventure of learning to read in another language.
“Book lore and book history and everything around them, to do with libraries or culture, I think it centers so much of civilization.” Atlas Obscura interviewed journalist Alex Johnson about his forthcoming title, Book Towns, which explores off-the-beaten-path towns bursting with bookshops.
“If I have a critique of American letters, it’s that the average American doesn’t read broadly enough, not enough work in translation, that we’re too isolated, too narrow in our reading habits, still too locked into boxes like the one built out of white male heteronormativity.” M. Bartley Seigel, outgoing co-editor of PANK Magazine, on his impressions of American literature. Pair with our piece on the submission processes at literary magazines.
Middlesex author and Pulitzer Prize winner (and Year in Reading alum) Jeffrey Eugenides has a new story out in this week’s issue of The New Yorker. Titled “Find the Bad Guy,” it may well be the first New Yorker story to show a character playing Words with Friends. Sample quote: “She had her arms around me, and we were rocking, real soft-like, the way Meg did after we gave her that kitten, before it died, I mean, when it was just a warm and cuddly thing instead of like it had hoof and mouth, and went south on us.”