Did your MFA program offer impractical courses like “Problems in Modern Fiction”? At the Ploughshares blog, Rebecca Makkai offers some suggestions for more useful classes, such as “Introduction to Despair,” “Pretending You’re Talking to Terry Gross When You’re Alone in the Car,” and “The Art of the Flirty Author Photo Grimace.” Pair with: Our interview with Makkai.
HTMLGiant’s A. D. Jameson went and saw part one of The Hobbit in theatres so now none of us have to do the same. Instead, sit back and check out his “250 Points” about the film. Or, if you’d prefer a blast of Tolkien analysis from the past, check out W. H. Auden’s 1956 book review of The Return of the King.
“Kindness cuts through the rest. And it’s a reminder for us all to reach out. Write that sweet note. Make that loving phone call. Because you never know what will stick.” Here is the follow-up to Julienne Grey’s fantastic New York Times piece “My Mother is Not a Bird,” courtesy of Electric Literature.
Even though William Faulkner once described Hollywood as the “plastic asshole of the world,” he spent two decades writing screenplays there. At Garden & Gun, John Meroney examines Faulkner’s film career, including writing for Howard Hawks and having an affair with his secretary. Pair with: Our essay on Cormac McCarthy’s attempt at screenwriting.
Recommended viewing: Tobias Wolff tried to convince Stephen Colbert that The Catcher in the Rye is J.D. Salinger’s best book. “Do we need to be reinforcing our kids’ bad behavior as teenagers with the idea they could be a character in a great novel? Dad, I wasn’t disobeying you, I was exploring modes of alienation,” Colbert joked.