It seems to be true that everyone has an opinion on Donald Trump. In private letters now up for auction, Harper Lee compared Trump’s Atlantic City Taj Mahal resort to hell on earth. Pair with Gabriel Brownstein’s recent essay on Trump as reality turned to cliche.
Another phone-related book project: Call Me Ishmael, a site that collects stories about reading and life via voicemail messages. The instructions are simple: call Ishmael at 774-325-0503 and leave him a message “about a book you love and a story you have lived.” Several of these messages are transcribed and posted online every week but, if we’re being honest, we appreciate this project for the pun as much as for the stories.
“I couldn’t help but feel that technology had circled back to some of its earliest purposes: broadcasting anti-black violence as widely as possible, as both entertainment and warning.” Our own Ismail Muhammad writes for Real Life about the tension between bearing witness and perpetuating paradigms of white supremacy while on the web. And if you haven’t yet read it, do spend some time with this review of Nate Marshall‘s Wild Hundreds, which provides some fortification.
In a short biographical piece for Open Letters Monthly, Sam Sacks writes about the book reviewing career of Katherine Mansfield and the ways in which it “helped her build the writing muscles needed” to finish her masterful short stories. While some critics might take umbrage at the way Sacks characterizes Mansfield as “turning out deadline copy like an ink-stained Fleet Street hack,” his look into her reviews culminates in the realization that “the point [of reviewing books] is not to be constructive but to construct something of lasting value in the little space and little time you’re granted. Like all writing, it should be a passion, not a pastime. The point is to dazzle.”
“Perhaps postcards best capture a nostalgia inherent to the passerby.” Our own Bruna Dantas Lobato writes about literary postcards and how we imbue images with our own meanings for Ploughshares. You could also read about images that inspire authors from another one of our staffers, Edan Lepucki.