Gabriel García Márquez has died at the age of 87. The Colombian writer was a prominent novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He was most famous for One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera, and The Autumn of the Patriarch and won a Nobel Prize in 1982 for his work.
"I learned through imitation, but it was only when I followed—or found—my own voice that I was able to derive a different kind of inspiration from reading fiction, something subtler and more expansive. Today, when I reach a wall in my own work, I turn to authors I love to remind myself what is possible: that sentence, that structure, that daring twist of plot." Chloe Benjamin, who just yesterday published a piece on choosing book titles for The Millions, writes about the dangers and rewards of reading while writing for Poets and Writers' Recommends series.
"Knausgaard's work is literary because of what it does, but not because of how it’s written. He gets us all asking…where does my truth really lie?" Recommended listening: James Wood, Meghan O'Rourke and Bill Pierce discuss Knausgaard in a podcast for Open Source.
“I have a girl brain but in a boy body. This is called transgender. I was born this way!” The Los Angeles Times reports on an elementary-school teacher reading I Am Jazz, written by transgender teenager Jazz Jennings, with her class; encouragingly, not that many parents freak out. Pair with writer T.K. Dalton reflecting on how to traverse the terrain of books, children, and gender.
"If Earth overheats and crops and fuel become scarce, guess what? I know good bartering supplies include tampons, mercury fillings, eyeglasses. One particularly anxious day I read instructions on how to cook on my woodstove—so in the early days of environmental apocalypse and culture collapse, my family will enjoy bygone potatoes roasted over hot coals and underdone loaves of bread.” Year in Reading alumna Megan Mayhew Bergman prepares herself for the apocalypse.
"Calvin and Hobbes is certainly not a text about queerness, yet when I returned to it at this altered point in my life, the strip suddenly seemed to describe things that resonated with me now: what it was like to live in a world where expressing your realest self is so often penalized, and the value of finding a second family, a close friend or friends, if your blood family fails to understand or accept the truest version of you." Gabrielle Bellot at The Literary Hub explains why Calvin and Hobbes is great literature.
Roberto Bolaño's posthumous releases may rival Tupac's in quantity. Indeed, the author "sustains an interest in Latin American literature all by himself," writes Robert Birnbaum. But what if you want to broaden your survey of Latin and South American literature? Well, luckily, Birnbaum's got some recommendations for you.