Throughout the 80s and 90s journalists turned hip hop into a literary movement. Pitchfork dives into that time and explores their legacy and impact on journalism and other literary forms. "Eager to extend the outer boundaries of their creativity, many of these writers would go on to ink novels, memoirs, short stories, scripts, and poetry, much of which stayed true to the language and attitude of hip-hop, as though their words were drafted to the sound of a boom-bap beat. It all added up to a low-key literary movement that writer and activist Kevin Powell has dubbed, 'The Word Movement.'" Includes a great reading list at the end.
Pacific Standards profiles Ken Layne who quietly started the popular quarterly literary magazine, Desert Oracle for a town of 8,000 people. Now it has gained far more readers than that as it highlights works related to the American desert. "The reason that the Oracle works is that it's always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it's not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It's a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has."
Out this week: Men and Apparitions by Lynne Tillman; The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst; The Parking Lot Attendant by Nafkote Tamirat; The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas; Memento Park by Mark Sarvas; and The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg. Want to learn more about upcoming titles? Then go read our most recent book preview. Want to help The Millions keep churning out great books coverage? Then become a member today.
"Because at the end of the day, there is no magic solution, no short-cut, to writing something that hopefully will last. No matter how we search for one." Jeff VanderMeer gives eight writing tips for aspiring writers in the Chicago Review of Books. See also: VanderMeer's prolific 2017 Year in Reading entry.
"Sometimes I think I’ve lost my nerve a little bit. I think it’s growing older, and a certain reservoir of anger literally runs out." The Guardian interviews James Wood, author and book critic at The New Yorker, about his craft, his forthcoming novel Upstate, and the landscape of today's literary criticism. Pair with: an essay about the greatness (and great influence) of Wood on a fellow novelist.
"Too often, a woman’s pain is not merely met with doubt, but suspicion, both within the medical community and outside of it." The New Republic writes about female pain, the medical community, and Abby Norman's book, Ask Me About My Uterus: A Quest to Make Doctors Believe in Women's Pain.
We encourage you to join Electric Literature's #ReadMoreWomen campaign. Their aim is to "challenge you to increase your consumption of women and nonbinary authors, and tweet at @ElectricLit with the hashtag #readmorewomen to tell us what you’re reading or recommend a book." Sounds good to us!
On International Women's Day the New York Times launched Overlooked, a project that features the obituaries of remarkable women who did not receive the NYT obituary treatment when they passed away. It turns out only 20% of NYT obituaries were about women. Overlooked will seek to remedy this oversight by posting new obituaries of female icons weekly for the rest of 2018. Of particular note to our readers this week; Charlotte Bronte, Qiu Jin, Nella Larsen, Sylvia Plath and Ida B. Wells. But all 15 obituaries are worth reading, whether to learn something new or refresh your memory.
The movie adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time premiered this week. Before or after you see the movie (there are some spoilers if you haven't seen it or read the book) read this essay by Alanna Bennett on the simple, but revolutionary power of the story and Ava DuVernay's book-to-screen vision.
It's that time of year again – our good friends at The Morning News are back with their annual epic, the Tournament of Books! Head over to TMN now to read round 1, which pits award season favorite Lincoln in the Bardo against Samantha Schweblin's Fever Dream (and read our own review of George Saunders's much-lauded novel here).