It’s notable when a respected magazine publishes a short story written in the form of a comment thread. It’s even more notable when the author of that story is Bobbie Ann Mason. At The Nervous Breakdown, new fiction from the author of Shiloh and Other Stories.
“When you want to read a long book, for reasons of weight a paperback must do, and you’ll just have to suck it up re: its inevitably smaller print and wind-catchingly thinner pages.” Here’s a handy guide to reading while you walk from the good people over at The Awl.
We’ve published essays before on the importance of good grammar, but it’s rare that something comes along that illustrates its value so clearly. A couple weeks ago, the Times published a blurb about This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a recent essay collection by Ann Patchett, that led to the author sending in what may be the best correction of all time. For more on Patchett’s work, you could read Kevin Charles Redmon on her book State of Wonder.
Want to be as brilliant as Jonathan Swift? Try reading Latin for ten hours a day. As this New Statesman review of Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World makes clear, the satirist went through a backbreaking classics regimen at Kilkenny College in Ireland. (There’s also the fact that he wrote constant letters to a sickly female confidante.)
What’s the one question you should never ask a writer starting a new book: how’s the writing going? “Nothing can damage a novel in embryo as quickly and effectively as trying to describe it before it’s ready,” Mark Slouka writes. Follow his advice for how to keep your writer friends.