Most writers, unless they’re lucky enough to have an ideal place in which to work, make do with the best space available. For Colum McCann’s father, the shed in his backyard, which “always smelled damp inside, as if the rain rose up out of the carpet,” sufficed for the fiction he wrote after coming home from work. At Page-Turner, the National Book Award winner and Year in Reading alum remembers his father’s retreat.
For the theory-obsessed, soon-to-be liberal arts graduate on your list: the essential Verso Books undergraduate reading list.
“Up until very recently, I’d recount my online experiences with some degree of shame or sheepishness, but in this apocalyptic year of 2012, that embarrassment is beginning to fall by the wayside. I’ve been having more and more conversations with people grappling with what is gained and lost by how some of our most meaningful musical discoveries– not to mention life experiences– have happened in front of, or facilitated by, screens.” Over at Pitchfork, a new column dedicated to the intersections between digital and ordinary life – and the art these interactions can produce.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to learn a new language to read the new Haruki Murakami book. Last week, our own Nick Moran wondered when Murakami’s latest would be getting an English translation. Knopf Doubleday publicity director Paul Bogaards revealed it should be out by 2014.
What happens when you grow up reading Harry Potter, Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey? At The Morning News, five women discuss what it meant to come of age reading these books. “It’s more socially acceptable for a guy to watch porn than it is for a twentysomething woman to read these books. There is something that bothers me about that,” one women said.
“There’s a deep tendency in our society to view mainstream status quo literature as having no politics, which is completely untrue. It has a very strong political value; it just happens to be conservative.” Junot Díaz drops some knowledge in an interview with Vox. Pair with his Millions Interview from a few years back.
“Write a short story from the point-of-view of a babysitter who one summer night witnesses something she never expected to see in her life, and then do a ‘find and replace’ in your Word doc until each instance of ‘babysitter’ becomes ‘Navy SEAL.'” Leigh Stein shares some “Writing Prompts for Girls and Women” with The Rumpus. Pair with our own Emily St. John Mandel‘s review of Leigh Stein’s The Fallback Plan.