At the Rumpus, in conversation with Sheena Daree Miller, author Yaffa S. Santos explains why she needed to explore synesthesia in order to complete her debut novel, A Taste of Sage. “I knew I wanted to write about a Dominican woman chef working in upper Manhattan. And I wanted it to be something I could and would finish, because I had started previous projects that I hadn’t completed,” she says. “I realized that, in order for me to be invested enough to get to the end, there had to be some sort of aspect beyond the five senses. It was important for me to incorporate that, no matter what shape it took. I wondered what sort of element I could add that would keep me focused from start to finish.”
You may have read some portion of the infamous Watergate transcripts. What you probably haven’t read is quotes from the transcripts rearranged into poetry. At The Paris Review Daily, a few representative poems by Richard Nixon, including “I Can’t Recall,” “The Position” and “In the End.” You could also read our own Michael Bourne on Thomas Mallon’s book Watergate.
Canonical literature isn’t the only way to learn about America. The bestseller list can be equally as telling. Matthew Kahn is reading 100 years of No. 1 bestsellers from 1913 to 2013. He blogs about the books and discusses the project in an interview with Salon’s Laura Miller. When Miller asks what makes a bestseller, he claims, “A lot of it is just a matter of accessibility. A focus on plot and character rather than structure and the prose itself.”
Got a crush on Draco Malfoy? J.K. Rowling is concerned. In a piece on her website, she writes: “I have often had cause to remark on how unnerved I have been by the number of girls who fell for this particular fictional character.” Pair with: our own Elizabeth Minkel on Rowling and other authors with second thoughts.
Does being a writer make you a bad father? Matthew Norman ponders his fear at Salon. “As a fiction writer, I’m perpetually in some state of preoccupation. At any given moment, I’m suffering over people who don’t exist—who will never exist.” Maybe he should try Polly Rosenwaike’s tactic and read fiction about the opposite parent.