For NPR, Ocean Vuong recommends four books that reshape the immigrant narrative, including Last Words from Montmarte by Qiu Miaojin, a series of letters that explores culture, language, and gender. “I’m truly inspired by Qiu Miaojin,” Vuong writes. “She’s a Taiwanese immigrant to Paris — and we often don’t think of the immigrant having, or the immigrant story having a sex life, a love life, a life of depression and deep existential angst. And Miaojin really positions in immigrant narrative in an existential wonder. And I think this is one of the most powerful testaments of rewriting or repositioning what immigration is on a global scale. And it positions the immigrant in the trajectory of the artist, because I think immigration demands a great amount of innovation and creativity. Nobody really survives the process of immigrating to a new country — to America, no less, which is so rich and complex — without being creative.”
“In eleven years, I’ve written four books: three novels and one story collection. Only the story collection has ever seen the light of day; the first two novels, including my thesis, were never published and the third novel is making the rounds with agents right now. I’d like to believe I’ve learned a few things about how fiction works over this time, but perhaps it is more accurate to write that I have learned how my fiction does – or in many cases, does not – work.” Michael Nye, who’s written for us before, shares his “Lessons in Failure and Writing a Novel” on the Missouri Review blog.
The Guardian has photos of A Little Life author Hanya Yanagihara‘s New York City apartment and its 12,000 – yes 12,000 – books. Pair with our interview with her from 2015: “It was the worst—the bleakest, the most physically exhausting, the most emotionally enervating—writing experience I’d had. I felt, and feared, that the book was controlling me, somehow, as if I’d somehow become possessed by it.”
Over at The Review Review, Chuck Augello provides a useful guide for writers trying to determine where they should submit their work. He covers several aspects of the process: Identifying Potential Markets, Circulation, Evaluating the Journal, Evaluation Criteria, and Simultaneous Submissions. None are more important than the last, though: Do the Work.
So you got a new Kindle for Christmas, and you’ve loaded it up with all our ebook recommendations? That’s great, but it may not be enough. Best to add a few ebooks to impress anyone who happens to come across your e-reader, just in case, and McSweeney’s has just the list.