At the New York Times, Elizabeth Acevedo discusses her current reading habits, as well as following the whims of your taste when it comes to reading choices. “I find ultimate delight when a story is matched by equally riveting language,” Acevedo says, “but people read like they eat: Sometimes we want comfort, sometimes we want to work to crack something open. And so I know that the writing pivots I might dislike are someone else’s bonbons.”
A very thoughtful essay by Millions contributor Patrick at his home base, the Vromans bookstore blog. The nut of the piece is the idea that publishers can and should create stronger brand identities. Patrick points out some publishers that are already doing this, and there’s some great stuff in the comments as well. The piece is a reaction to an equally interesting essay from if:book.
“Apple’s example sentence for ‘shrill’ referenced ‘women’s voices,’ and the one for the word ‘psyche’ read, ‘I will never really fathom the female psyche.’ […] The pronouns in entries for ‘doctor’ and ‘research’ were male, while a ‘she’ could be found doing ‘housework.’” The New Oxford American Dictionary needs its own guidelines for nonsexist usage.
Over at Slate, Mike Vuolo speaks with Bob Garfield about “African-American English,” or, as some might say, “Ebonics.” The two of them explore its history, misconceptions, and whether or not it’s possible or even appropriate for a white writer (such as The Help author Kathryn Stockett) to attempt to write in the dialect of certain African-Americans.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a book that was at once so bold in style and ambitious in structure and so much fun to read.” The Guardian asks indie publishers about the books that made their year, including Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue (whose own Year in Reading you can find here).
This year, the good folks at Slate and the Whiting Foundation kicked off a new literary prize, intended to reward authors for great second novels. To wrap up the year, they’ve asked several winners of the prize, including Akhil Sharma, Helen DeWitt and Daniel Alarcon, to write short pieces about objects that symbolize the writing process for their books. (Akhil Sharma chooses a stopwatch, while Eileen Myles chooses a can of Cafe Bustelo.)
If you enjoy showing the world how much you like to read, you’re in luck: The Paris Review and the LRB are asking people to submit photos of themselves reading either magazine as part of their new contest. All you have to do is post the image on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #ReadEverywhere, and they’ll pick out the top images. The grand prize is one vintage issue of The Paris Review from every decade it’s been around, along with an artwork by Peter Campbell and a vintage LRB cover print.