I suppose those who have posed this question to me could be making the most innocent of inquiries; after all, it's a normal enough thing to wonder about someone who makes any kind of art and has a spouse or partner.
But the question still grates, because maybe what they mean is something more like, "Is your husband really OK with the fact that you wrote a book about someone who resembles you in several significant ways, and that person has sex with a lot of different people? Does your husband know that you may have had sex with a lot of different people? How does he feel about that, if so? And if he's OK with it, do you know how lucky you are?"
We've seen some stomping this summer. Not all of it has been easy to understand: the riots and looting following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, made manifest the community's anger, but it also obscured the crime and troubled the distinction between innocent community and guilty police force.
The majority of protestors, however, have been vocal and peaceful, forcing Ferguson and communities across the country to think hard about police militarization, diversity in law enforcement, and the fact that in many American towns and cities, young black people have to be afraid of the police and civilians with guns. (Continue)
One of the strange truths about Shakespeare is that most of us first encounter his work in exactly the wrong way. We're assigned to read one or another of his plays in school, something Shakespeare never meant to have happen (and not just because he couldn't have pictured the typical contemporary high school). He meant his plays to be performed, not read: the play's the thing; those words on a page are just a gesture at the play.
For a novelist, the opposite is true. We create work to be consumed in the very private pleasure of reading. But weirdly, although we say we've got a bookstore reading, what a good author does at these events is perform. (Continue)
"Where do you get your ideas?" people ask fiction writers. "What sort of research do you do?" "What is your process?" "Is your work autobiographical?"
I don't mind the questions, which I have certainly asked of others. But in trying to provide answers, I'm afraid my tendency is to simplify. Methods of research, lists of books that I've read, inspiring trips, lifelong interests and obsessions, important mentors, my own little writing tricks, and of course the importance of discipline – and it is important! – as if one's work ethic will ensure a desirable outcome... (Continue)
Peopled by the bewildered, the belittled, the aging, the tales in Stone Mattress follow characters deposited in modern society but haunted by a palpable, insistent past. Atwood is a legend with fiercely devoted fans, but her works are so witty and absorbing that, even if you've never picked up one of her books, you'll immediately feel at home. – Renee
In her sweeping survey of the way humans have fundamentally altered the planet, Ackerman once again dazzles with her luminous prose and boundless curiosity. Far from a book weighed down by doom, The Human Age examines both our mistakes and our triumphs to demonstrate that, while we can't reverse course, we can forge a new path to sustainability.– Renee
A landmark achievement by Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything is essential reading on the ways climate change creates opportunities for us to reexamine our entire free market system – and will hopefully provoke us into lasting, significant action. –
It's hard to know what to expect when a songwriter tackles a full-length novel, but Darnielle has created a complex story that lives and breathes on its own merits, while still retaining the moments of razor-sharp intensity that give his lyrics their acclaim.
– The Dot
Ned is a boy with a curse and Aine is the child of a bandit king. Together they encounter an enchanted forest, powerful stones, feuding kingdoms, magic, greed, death, war, forgiveness, and peace when they discover friendship conquers all. This is a true joy and a wonder to read. – Richard
A unique mystery set in 1892 New England told with warmth, humor, and suspense. The narrator, Abigail, sees the details in the ordinary, and Jackaby (a combination of Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes) has the power to see the supernatural. This is a promising start to a new series.
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