“I had seen enough movies to know that when a knife is tossed by the hero to someone in need, it lands exactly where it should. So I picked up the knife, and I centered myself. ‘Be the hero,’ I whispered.” Caroline Paul’s The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, “part memoir, part manifesto, part aspirational workbook,” encourages everyone to add a little more adventure to their lives. Angela Qian writes about the adventure of learning to read in another language.
Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of those rare few classic novels that translates well to the big screen. To some extent, this was intentional — Nabokov often wrote fiction with an eye to selling film rights. John Colapinto writes about the author’s relationship with the cinema over at Page-Turner. You could also read our own Lydia Kiesling’s Modern Library Revue of Lolita.
Chances are you’ve heard that the most important thing a writer needs to make it in the modern lit world is luck. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of truth to that, but what if there’s another factor that has a bigger impact on a writer’s success? Sean McElwee argues for the importance of something more prosaic.
Year in Reading alum Elizabeth McCracken has a new story collection out this week, and to mark the occasion, she spoke with Kelly Luce over at Salon about her writing, her Twitter obsession and — strangely enough — cannibalism (at least in the context of fairy tales). She also talks about the importance of humor, lamenting that “some young writers mistake humorlessness for seriousness.” (Related: Tanya Paperny wrote a eulogy for the translator Michael Henry Heim.)
“All poems of public grief are private poems first,” writes Mark Doty in his evaluation of Wisława Szymborska’s poem, “Photograph from September 11th.” Indeed, what Doty learned “over the course of those dozen years, was that the words one hammers out in private, in order to attempt some kind of sense, may end up being used by people in ways you could have never anticipated.”
The sound level of a typical quiet bedroom measures 30 decibels, but what if you still can’t concentrate on your reading? Well, maybe you should move to Minneapolis and use Steven Orfield’s “anechoic chamber,” which at -9 decibels is officially the quietest room in the world.