At Lit Hub, Jenny Zhang recounts the important books in her life, from the first book she loved to her favorite reread. On the books that have made her laugh out loud: “Pnin by Nabokov, the stories of Janet Frame and Grace Paley make me laugh. Tommy Pico and Morgan Parker’s poetry make me laugh. Tony Tulathimutte and Karan Mahajan’s fiction make me laugh. Qiu Miaojin and Kathy Acker and Paul Beatty make me laugh. I think more writers should try to be funny. Being dementedly funny is the hardest and most worthwhile thing to achieve in writing.”
“When watching [Abbas] Kiarostami films, one also has a great sense of another kind of freedom not found in Hollywood movies, nor in most European art films: freedom from the creeping realization that a film we are watching was made by a cynical shit or a self-deluded megalomaniac.” Here’s something you don’t see every day — an essay that begins with an Independence Day showing of The Purge: Election Year, and somehow ends up at a poetic examination of Kiarostami’s artistic legacy.
A really great, thoughtful post about independent book stores in New York from The Written Nerd. A must read if you are a bookseller or if you care about the state of independent bookstores. Read the whole thing and then see my comment on the post for my thoughts.As an antidote to all the “best of” lists, check out the post at Book World about the twelve books she wishes she hadn’t read this year.Least likely to be the next Oprah Book Club Pick: Kitty Kelley is writing an unauthorized bio of Oprah Winfrey.An esoteric obsession: Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie
A translation guide to writing workshops that we’re definitely printing out and bringing along to our next one. “Sometimes when people say ‘show, don’t tell,’ what they mean is that they find the characters sympathetic, the story is moving forward, and they even like the conflict, but they just don’t like the way you wrote it. What they’d really like to do is steal the idea and write it themselves, because honestly, they would do a much better job.”
“Where is the black version of Caddie Woodlawn (a 19th-century Wisconsin tomboy) or Harriet the Spy (a 20th-century Upper East Sider), smart, spunky, fictional heroines for the tween crowd?” Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon fictionalize beloved Harlem Renaissance writer Zora Neale Hurston as a girl detective in Zora and Me.