Min Jin Lee, author of the bestselling novel Pachinko, recounts how she found her voice, going from a young student struggling with the English language to a published author promoting her own work. “I write novels, and now and then I give lectures,” she writes. “I come from many tribes—immigrant, introvert, working class, Korean, female, public school, Queens, Presbyterian. Growing up, I never knew that people like me could write books or talk in public. To this day, I worry that if I mess up, others like me might not be asked or allowed. This is how outsiders and newcomers feel. It is neither rational nor fair. I know.”
According to the title of Matt Steinglass‘ new essay (a qualified rebuttal of Katie Roiphe‘s recent piece “The Naked and the Conflicted“), “Today’s Male Novelists Do Write Exuberant Sex Scenes, But Mostly Lesbian Ones“
“Today’s vampires have traded their capes for fashionable leather jackets, their claws for manicures.” Becca Rothfeld writes for the Los Angeles Review of Books about the “the distressingly human lives of vampires today.” Pair with our own Emily Colette Wilkinson‘s “Ethical Vampires” and “Ethical Vampires, part II.”
At this point, we’re all familiar with Cheryl Strayed’s transformative solo hike of the Pacific Crest Trail that she wrote about in Wild. Yet at Condé Nast Traveler, she discusses how a recent family vacation to Laos reawakened her passion for travel. “Here we were on a sacred hill so far off from the place from which we had come, and so abundantly thankful for it. Perhaps the power of that very gratitude is the reason I travel.”
For Electric Literature Jennifer Baker interviews Yahdon Israel who hosts the weekly literary interview series LIT on Youtube. On his inspiration for starting the show; “I watch a great deal of interviews on the Breakfast Club, James Lipton’s Inside the Actors Studio, Sway in the Morning, Hot 97, Between Two Ferns. And the people who are seldom interviewed are writers. In many ways being Black has taught me to notice what isn’t there. That lens lends itself to what I notice about pop culture: We’re missing from the conversation. Better put: We’re not included. And by “we” I mean writers.” Watch the show and subscribe, some interviews include Kaitlyn Greenidge, Claire Messaud, Victor LaValle and Jesmyn Ward.
“Part of what I realize now I was doing in Proxies was to integrate the incongruous aspects of my self: the child of the truck driver and Primitive Baptist self, the queer intellectual poet self, the professor without an office self, the prizewinner who was ‘midcareer’ before he was ’emerging,’ the middle-aged man at the entry-level rungs of the gig economy.” Go check out this interview with Brian Blanchfield over at The Rumpus. This is the second Blanchfield interview we’ve told you about, both worth taking a look.
“The physical purpose of reproduction is, obviously, the continuation and renewal of genetic continuity, human survival. Its psychological purpose seems to me to be a particularly poignant kind of mutual learning and, matters being equal, ineffable comfort.” What is the relationship between being an artist and being a parent? Maria Popova at Brain Pickings takes a look at sculptor Anne Truitt’s collected journals, Daybook, to try and suss out an answer.
“In a bewildering new trend, it is young rationalist bloggers in Bangladesh who have emerged as the primary target of Islamic extremists.” K. Anis Ahmed writes about the brutal murders of bloggers at the front of the secular movement who have demanded punishment for those committing genocide. Pair with an essay from Hasan Altaf about how celebrating literature can be a form a protest.