For Elle, authors Kali Fajardo-Anstine and Mieko Kawakami interviewed each other with the help of translators, discussing their books Sabrina & Corina and Breast and Eggs, as well as the importance of finding your audience. “I have had the pleasure to meet Chicanas and mixed women from Toronto to L.A. who feel as though their reality is represented in my stories,” Fajardo-Anstine says. “They tell me beautiful things: ‘I’ve never seen my family name in a story before,’ or, ‘Your work encouraged me to ask my grandma about her life.’ Some readers from more privileged backgrounds, I’ve noticed, can find my stories unrelentingly sad, while readers from communities that have experienced historic trauma often find my stories hopeful, for they bear witness to our common experiences. There’s power in documentation, even if hard to look at.”
Recommended reading: “One of the drillers fell to his knees. Some sobbed, in the way men do when their mothers die, or when their sons are born.” An exceptional and deeply moving long-form essay in the New Yorker recounting the 69 days spent underground by the famed ’33’ Chilean miners buried in the 2010 accident at Copiapó.
“Fiction is messier. Essay is, for me, an attempt at a kind of clarity. I have a very messy and chaotic mind, but when I’m writing an essay I find I can exert a bit more control over it.” The The Guardian published a Q&A with Zadie Smith with questions from fellow authors, politicians, and fans. Smith’s upcoming essay collection, Feel Free, is featured in the first half of our 2018 Great Book Preview.
“Nobody there but dirty old men who spit tobacco juice and try to look up your skirt.” The city square is one of the biggest architectural differences between the United States and Europe. Over at The Daily Beast, George Packer takes a look at plazas/piazzas and makes a case for why America needs more.
“There are people who believe that readers and writers—at least the right kind of readers and writers—are special snowflakes, existing on a more exalted plane than mere mortals. Book people are educated. They are privileged. They are brave enough to speak out when the emperor shows up naked. They sup on nectar from flowers grown on the sunny slopes of Mount Olympus, harvested by chiton-wearing MFA candidates.” Jennifer Weiner responds to bad Amazon reviews, book blogs, and elitist ” book people” in an essay for The New Republic. We especially enjoy the line about the chitons.