“I like a lot of things about being a woman, but there are times and ways it’s a prison, and sometimes I daydream about being out of that prison.” The Guardian has a crack Rebecca Solnit essay about clothing, gender, and of course, mansplaining. Pair with our review of Solnit’s The Faraway Nearby.
It’s high time we acknowledge the mastery of the short story by some really fantastic American women. At LitHub, Bridget Read makes a compelling case for such writers as Lucia Berlin and Jamaica Kincaid as veritable dons of the genre. This piece pairs nicely with a recent Millions essay by Adam Boffa on terseness, Twitter, and Lydia Davis.
On the topic of reading classics: Alberto Manguel at the New York Review of Books considers the dialogue across history that books afford. "The relationship between a reader and a book... eliminates the barriers of time and space, like 'conversations with the dead.'"
Recommended Reading/Listening: Maia Evrona’s translation and recitation of a poem by Abraham Sutzkever, who has been called one of the primary poets of the Holocaust. Gabriel Brownstein’s essay for The Millions on what it means to be a “Jewish writer” is a good complementary piece.
In a By Heart piece for The Atlantic, Harriet Lane writes about the "bleak precise nature" of Philip Larkin's poetry (what Stephen Akey called "The Poetry of Mental Unhealth" in a Millions review) and about the power inherent in writing fiction. "In my everyday life I have no control, really: who does? But on paper, I hold all the cards. Fiction provides you with a way to shape a world, to exert the kind of power and agency our real lives so often lack."
If you’ve ever been asked to write a thank-you note, you know that, paradoxically, it can be one of the hardest forms of writing to do well. In light of that, The Morning News has kindly republished their classic guide to writing thank-you notes, written by Leslie Harpold. Sample quote: “If you want to know when you get a genuine pass on writing a note, the litmus test is simple: Do I live under the same roof as the giver?”