Books

‘So We Read On’ and Why We Should Keep Fighting About ‘The Great Gatsby’

In Sigrid Nunez’s book The Last of Her Kind, the central character, Georgette, meets her troubling, troubled, wonderful friend Ann when they are both students at Barnard College in New York. I can remember, quite clearly, that school for Georgette consists of her writing a long paper, “Why The Great Gatsby Is Not a Great Book.” … Read More

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Bad Poets of Pop Culture: A Brief Survey

Are you a bad poet? Are your rhymes ridiculous? Your meter mediocre? Your enjambments a joke? Well, take heart, gentle friend: you’re not alone. Some of the best characters in fiction of all kinds also happen to be terrible poets — whether their deficiency is played for laughs (or tears) or whether they’re actually so bad they’re kind of good. Hey, something to aspire to! After the jump, a brief survey of some of the best bad poets in pop culture. Add any favorites missing here to the list in the comments. … Read More

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‘Geek Sublime’ Author Vikram Chandra on the Beautiful, Hideous, and Dangerous Codes That Shape Our World

“When I wrote [Red Earth and Pouring Rain], when I write now, I want a certain density that encourages savoring. I want entanglement, unexpected connections, reverberations, the weight of pouring rain on red earth. Mud is where life begins,” writes Vikram Chandra – best known for his sprawling novels, 1995’s Red Earth and Pouring Rain and 2008’s Sacred Games – in his first published work of nonfiction, Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty. … Read More

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Stephen King on Teaching Writing

Over at The Atlantic, Jessica Lahey interviewed Stephen King, whose On Writing has long been a staple… Read More

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Watch: Frances McDormand and Bill Murray Stare at Rural Things in HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge” Trailer

Rural New England! Gun! The weathered stares of Frances McDormand and Bull Murray! Moody Martha Wainwright song! The words “Pulitzer… Read More

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27 Writers on Whether or Not to Get Your MFA

Now that September is here and school is back in session, a writer’s thoughts turn to the eternal question: Is an MFA worth it? Ever since the publication of the Chad Harbach-edited anthology MFA vs. NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction earlier in the year, the perennial neurosis about whether or not an advanced degree in writing is worth it has become a progressively louder conversation. It’s one that we should be having, considering the explosion of the MFA in the past 40 years: from a mere 79 programs in 1979 to 854 today, according to Harbach. The MFA may even be having its moment — after all, the last shot of Girls Season 3 had Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath joyfully looking at her acceptance to Iowa. We checked in with some of our favorite writers from then and now to see what they think of the rise of the… Read More

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10 Experimental Novels That Are Worth the Effort

Today marks the US publication of Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing, a highly experimental, Joycean novel that, despite the fact that modern readers often eschew difficulty, has been heaped with awards. It is, in fact, a difficult book — but it’s totally worth it. And it’s not the only one. After the jump, ten experimental novels that are worth the effort it takes to parse them. Take a look, and since this is only a list of one reader’s favorites, add your own to the bizarre pile in the comments. … Read More

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Ray Rice and the Toxic Culture of the NFL, as Detailed in Steve Almond’s ‘Against Football’

In Steve Almond’s Against Football, a book filled with “obnoxious opinions” by the writer’s own admittance — and they’re not that bad — Almond makes a case for the fact that football, and the NFL specifically, is at the root of a toxic, pernicious, deadly and deadening culture in America. … Read More

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Forbes’s Top-Earning Authors of 2014

Forbes has released their yearly ranking of the top-earning authors, and there are few surprises. James Patterson, as always,… Read More

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