At the Guardian, Jane Smiley discusses the author she turns to when she needs something comfortable and reassuring: Anthony Trollope. “No matter what I’m reading or rereading,” Smiley says, “I am intrigued and reassured by Trollope’s insights into the minds of both men and women, as well as the undercurrent of good humour that runs through all the books (including one of my favourites, He Knew He Was Right).”
From Hunger Games‘s Katniss to Divergent‘s Tris, today’s YA heroines are confident, intelligent, powerful, and always skinny. At The Atlantic, Julianne Ross argues that this scrawny stereotype ends up belittling the heroines’ independence and strength. “Just as women are expected to be sexual but not slutty, pure but not prudish, heroines should be strong but not buff.”
It can be hard for critics to strike a balance between high theory and accessible prose. For James Wood, the key is to retain enough theoretical knowledge to come up with an insightful point, while still retaining the ability to write in a natural dialect. In The Guardian, he talks about his own relationship with books.