At Autostraddle, Kristen Arnett discusses the inspiration behind her latest novel, With Teeth, and her ongoing obsession with dysfunctional families. “I’m obsessed with writing about families and thinking about families because families are so fucked up,” Arnett says. “It’s the most fun thing to write about. Every family, even families that are doing okay, have some fucked up elements to them. So I wanted to write about lesbians who were obviously very fucked up in their family and what that looks like both from the outside and what that looks like from the inside. Think about it this way — everybody in a family is an unreliable narrator. Even families who share the same stories don’t tell those stories in the same way. I wanted it to be this claustrophobic, sometimes terrifying, feeling story of how motherhood and queerness in this specific space could feel weirdly oppressive. You don’t understand yourself and the dysfunction gets to a point where it turns into this cyclical bad way to behave.”
Journalist and author Simon Winchester highlights five books “that shed light on the social history of his adopted homeland, from the late 19th century to the Great Depression.” We’re pleased to see Millions Hall-of-Famer Stoner make the cut.
Rosie Schaap espouses the joys of cooking for others “in a powerfully fraught, anxious time” such as ours. “I wanted, at least in this small way,” she writes, “to give comfort—both to myself and to my loved ones.” And as our own Hannah Gersen has noted, if you’re fortunate to have such a good friend for a chef, you can read a cookbook while they work.
“[Emily] Dickinson is often portrayed as some white gossamer recluse, completely divorced from the world outside her bedroom—but that is not really true. The physical circumference of her adult life was small, but its psychological terrain was boundless.” This piece explores the ways in which Emily Dickinson’s work was shaped by her skills as a gardener and naturalist.
The Guardian has put together an extensive section called “How to Write” with tips from the pros like Robert Harris, Antonia Fraser, and Catherine Tate on writing fiction, poetry, comedy, screenplays, memoirs, journalism, and books for children.David Foster Wallace links: DFW’s Pomona syllabus (via) and “The last days of David Foster Wallace” in Salon (via). Very sad.Adjust your bookmarks. Pinky’s Paperhaus has moved (and gotten a new name).Former Millions blogger Patrick Brown got a mention in an LA Times piece about Herman Wouk a couple weeks back.