At the Guardian, George Saunders discusses his newest book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, with Killian Fox. “I think the main thing that it [fiction] teaches us about is the process of projection that we’re constantly doing,” Saunders says. “I’m a Buddhist, and we believe you really do make the world with your mind. So a story is like a laboratory to help you identify your own habits and projections. Also, it’s about being in connection with that other human being who wrote it. Working on this book made me realise that when you’re reading a story and analysing it, you’re really reassuring yourself that connection is possible, and that even though this person looks like my enemy, there is – maybe, not always – a way to temper that a bit.”
Our staff writer Nick Ripatrazone has published two books in the last year – the short story collection Good People and the novella We Will Listen For You – and both have recently been reviewed in New Jersey papers, which agree that the books are “an invitation to look beyond the stone walls of churches and gape in wonder at the world and the unknowable vistas beyond.” Pair with Nick’s ever-relevant essays on teaching English and becoming a writer, not a priest.
Year in Reading alumnus Alexandre Chee writes about the courage of being queer. As he puts it, “I am sure the 49 patrons who died at Pulse that night didn’t necessarily think of themselves as brave for being there. But they were.” Pair with Claire Cameron’s Millions interview with the author.
Photographer Christopher Jue journeyed with People Who Eat Darkness author Richard Lloyd Parry into the four-story headquarters of the Kudō-kai, a Yakuza group headquartered on the Kyushu island of Japan. “My mental note to myself,” says Jue, “was ‘once I step foot into their property, anything can happen.’”
At The NYT Mag, Virginia Heffernan‘s “Drill, Baby, Drill” explores the possibility that drills and memorization might not be quite as oppressive as some of the kinder, gentler pedagogues of our time suggest and offers a list of aps to help aspiring rote learners (Nota Bene: VerseByHeart).