To read Alejandro Zambra is to engage with someone who writes as though the burden of history were upon him and no one else — the history of his country of Chile, of literature, and of humanity's shared experience. You get it from his pages, a sense that a story must be told, intimately and without reservation.
Iain Banks is perhaps not the first novelist you associate with poetry. But, as fellow science-fiction Scot Ken MacLeod notes in his introduction to Iain Banks and Ken MacLeod Poems (Little Brown, £12.99), the clues were there.
Mary Daniels Brown's insight:
Reading poetry is like exercising: I know I should do more of it.
There’s a thriving subgenre of what one may call cozy literary criticism, where a writer, usually a woman, traces the outline of her life through the books that she has read. It is sometimes very charming — Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch comes to mind. At its worst, though, it can sort of disappear in the brain as all so much generic fluff, a perennial stopgap device from a variety of publishers. So it was a lovely surprise to find that Samantha Ellis’ How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much was a thoroughly enjoyable contribution to this canon.
Reading a novel is a commitment. Upon purchase, you enter an agreement with the author: Should sufficient curiosity be instilled by its early pages, you'll gladly accompany the narrator on whatever strange or dull adventures lie ahead.
Anton Chekhov’s “Sakhalin Island,” his long investigation of prison conditions in Siberia, is the best work of journalism written in the nineteenth century. The fact that so few people know of the book, and that among Western critics (not necessarily Russian ones) it is considered a minor masterpiece instead of a major one—inferior to Alexander Herzen’s journals, for example—has something to do with how journalism is rarely considered literature. But it has even more to do with the lies that Chekhov told to get access to the prison colony.
To read is to build your own imagination and strengthen resistance to prevailing commercial forces
Why do we read? The simple answer is for pleasure. But what exactly is the nature of that pleasure? Reading removes us from the structure of our lives, from the routine, the sequential habits of our day-to-day living. We enter instead another time zone. The plot, characters and setting occupy us, and while we read we inhabit the others’ reality. The pleasure therefore is derived from escaping our own small, limited and often repetitive lives and entering an exotic elsewhere.
But perhaps there is also the attraction of reserving something private for ourselves, something outside of the public world of relationship, family, work and occupation; something that is not encumbered by the stricture of time and self.
There was a remarkable bond between the author of To Kill a Mockingbird and her sister, neither of whom married or had any known romantic interests; one who could not wait to leave Alabama, the other who never left.
In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Meselhy revealed the preparations of his novels, the obstacles he faced to publish some of his stories, and the secrets of his future literary works.
Despite what most people think, roaming over the different genres of literature isn’t the choice of the writer. Every idea chooses for itself whether it’ll be written as a story or a novel, and also chooses whether it’ll be belong to realism or pop art, and the writer has to follow his ideas’ choices silently.
In 1995, amid an exchange of gunfire between insurgents and Russian troops in what would be the first of two bloody wars in Chechnya, the stately neoclassical pillars of the Chekhov National Library burned, along with the priceless collection of...
When Annie Dillard wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, she didn’t think anyone would want to read a memoir by a "Virginia housewife." So she left her domestic life out of the book—and turned her surroundings into a wilderness.
“Selected Letters of Langston Hughes” traces the writer’s career from the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s through the arrival into the American consciousness of black nationalist firebrands in the 1960s.
For a long time, people didn’t love literature. They read with their heads, not their hearts.
We connect with books in an intellectual way, but the most valuable relationships we have with them are emotional; to say that you merely admire or respect a book is, on some level, to insult it. Feelings are so fundamental to literary life that it can be hard to imagine a way of relating to literature that doesn’t involve loving it. Without all those emotions, what would reading be?
We are inundated with films adapted from books, from bestsellers like “Gone Girl” and “50 Shades of Grey” to the more literary end of the spectrum with new releases of Philip Roth adaptations and P.T.
Some of the songs on this literary playlist are obvious retellings of classic novels (it’s no wonder what Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” is about), but others revealed themselves only through reading, research and sometimes nothing but very careful listening.
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