Nicole Chung interviews Amy Tan about her new memoir Where the Past Begins: A Writer’s Memoir, one of the highlights is when Tan ponders being one of the ‘first’ authors that people name/read when they think of Asian-American literature. “But when [“The Joy Luck Club”] came out, it did feel like there were many expectations from all areas — not just in the Asian American community, but in Asian culture itself, and in any ethnic studies community. There were people who said ‘At last!’ and there were people who said ‘How dare she?’ […] I wanted to say: I’m not writing sociology, it just so happens this is what happened in my own family.”
“The day is spent for the most part in a glorious solitude. Like the hunter who moves silently through the woods to check his traps, she moves through the library, cautiously avoiding those whom she knows. A single conversation would ruin the beauty and vastness of her silence. Today no such conversation occurs and she is happy.” Good luck not reading this narration of a graduate student’s life in the voice of director Werner Herzog, now. Here’s a great Herzog Millions piece, as well.
“Jealousy baffles me. It’s so mysterious and it’s so pervasive. … And yet I’ve never read a study that can parse to me its loneliness, or its longevity, or its grim thrill. For that, we have to go to fiction because the novel is the lab that has studied jealousy in every possible configuration. In fact, I don’t know that it’s an exaggeration to say that if we didn’t have jealousy, we wouldn’t even have literature.” New York Times Book Review editor Parul Sehgal takes listeners to church in her TED Talk, “Ode to Envy.”
Whitney Houston, Adele, Kanye West, Prince, and Justin Bieber all share something in common when it comes to the songs they sing. Each one of them rhymes “do” and “you” more often than any other pair of words. In fact, according to Ben Blatt, that duo is the most commonly rhymed pair in the history of pop music.
You will not want to miss this possibly true ghost story from David Mitchell over at LitHub. This piece comes from the first installment of Freeman’s, which is out now, and which includes such fantastic writers as Mitchell, Haruki Murakami, and Louise Erdrich.