Author Archive

Squad Books

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Look, I’m not trying to be Internetty. But at the end of a year I’ve spent thinking a lot about friendship, I don’t want my last post to be another family tree. Instead, I want to write about books that are my friends. I want to write about the
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Literary Enemies: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie vs. Maud Casey

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Literary Enemies: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie vs. Maud Casey Disclaimer: I bet they’d love each other. There are two authors who have a special place on the fiction shelves at the bookstore where I work. The first is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, though “on the fiction shelves” isn’t quite an accurate
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A Family Tree of Books You Need a Family Tree to Read

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Let’s start with One Hundred Years of Solitude, to prove after last time that I do, in fact, love Gabriel García Márquez, and because where else would I start? By me, there is no better family novel than One Hundred Years of Solitude. The novel is nominally the story
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Literary Enemies: Gabriel García Márquez vs. Alejandro Zambra

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Literary Enemies: Gabriel García Márquez vs. Alejandro Zambra Disclaimer: García Márquez has no enemies but the F.B.I. A few weeks ago I went to a panel at the National Book Festival that featured Alejandro Zambra, a Chilean writer I like a lot.[1] (Yes, I started reading him because of
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How Should A Writer Be?

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Yesterday on the bus I sat behind a woman whose toddler was having a Richter-ten tantrum concerning his left shoe. He flung himself out of his seat, flailed his arms, pulled his mother’s hair, and wept into his shirt because he didn’t want to wear his shoe. This lasted
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Literary Enemies: Junot Díaz vs. Meg Wolitzer

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Literary Enemies: Meg Wolitzer and Junot Díaz Disclaimer: I refuse to believe that Meg Wolitzer and Junot Díaz aren’t friends. I’m going to try my best to keep this from getting all Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, and I promise I’m not going to make When
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The Family You Choose

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The Family You Choose In college my housemates and I once drew a social map of our class. This is similar. A web, not a tree. I’ve always been prone to intense friendships. Not best friendships, necessarily, or not in the one-and-only sense. I’m of the Mindy Kaling school
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Literary Enemies: Marilynne Robinson vs. Flannery O’Connor

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Literary Enemies: Flannery O’Connor vs. Marilynne Robinson Disclaimer: Marilynne Robinson has no enemies. I hope you’ve never compared Marilynne Robinson to Flannery O’Connor, but I can see how you might have been tempted. There’s Iowa, first of all, and if it weren’t a proper noun I would have capitalized
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No Real for You

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I’m going to begin by asking your forgiveness for two things I usually don’t do. The first is speaking Spanish in my English. The second is using the prefix meta-.  But this is a family of meta-fictional twins, and come on, don’t you agree that “Pierre Menard, autor del Quijote”
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Literary Enemies: Ann Patchett v. Zadie Smith

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Literary Enemies: Ann Patchett vs. Zadie Smith Disclaimer: Zadie Smith doesn’t care if she has enemies. I have a recurring dream in which I meet Zadie Smith at a picnic. She compliments my leather jacket—Vintage? she asks—and we begin chatting, and in the end she offers to be my
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