Are you embarrassed about your lack of literary inheritance? You’re not alone. Here’s a great piece by Annie Liontas at The New York Times on those first, lonely forays into the literary world: “But I see my experience as an immigrant into the world of letters as a blessing. Being an outsider is the origin of my imagination; it gives me the constant consciousness that my perspective is only one of many and that there are myriad ways of being in the world. It grants me the gift of being attuned to the voices in the room, as well as all of those shut out of it.”
Book Snobbishness: “Using your personal taste or literary standards to dictate to other people what they should spend their time or money on. It’s not just about looking down on someone for reading romance or science fiction (though that’s part of it, of course), but also about shaming readers for where they spend money or the format in which they read.” Amanda Nelson, managing editor of Book Riot, sits down with 0s&1s to talk about gender, books and blogging. To get your fill of literary blogging, check out our list of must-read literary Tumblrs.
Fans of Mary Karr‘s The Liar’s Club and Cherry: At the New York Times Book Review, Susan Cheever describes Karr’s latest memoir, Lit, as “the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years.”
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The Occupy Wall Street movement has been going on for seven months now, and it’s the subject of a new book entitled The Occupy Handbook. Over at The Daily Beast, you can check out an excerpt in which The Big Short author Michael Lewis interviews himself about his thoughts on the occupation.
“Being someone who’s an outsider, there are so many ways in which the world acts on you or assigns narratives to you.” Literary Hub interviews author Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi about literature, identity, and her new novel, Call Me Zebra. From our archives: Nur Nasreen Ibrahim‘s review of Call Me Zebra.
“Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds.” -From the much-quoted 1928 essay by SS Van Dine, noted art critic and mystery writer, on the 20 rules for writing detective stories. (via Guardian)
How did Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean create one of DC’s most popular comics in history? The Guardian finds out the inspiration behind The Sandman. McKean shares the stories behind his favorite covers, and Gaiman also addresses his resemblance to Dream. “I suppose he looks like me, though. But that’s one of those peculiar things where you gradually start to look like your dog.”
Implicit in a lot of the discussions about how negative a book reviewer can be is a question of utility: is a book review an act of public service or a work of art in itself? In the Times, James Parker and Anna Holmes debate the purpose of the review. Sample quote: “I’d argue that a majority of the reading public doesn’t necessarily benefit from the sorts of reviews for which artistry is the point.” You could also read our own Matt Seidel’s hypothetical worst review ever.