Reading Archive

Old South/New South: Reading Erika Meitner and Katherine Anne Porter

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Growing up in North Carolina, I was surrounded by languages half-understood. At synagogue, there was the Hebrew I read and chanted but couldn’t understand.

Short Stories Are Forgotten Grist for the Hollywood Mill

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January means it’s award season for the movie industry. As the nominations and trophies are being passed out, it’s a good time to note how the history of Hollywood is inextricably linked to the history of literature.

Constructing Selves: Character in Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum’s “Accomplice”

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I’ve written before about the magic I find, as a writer and reader, in the world of the school as a setting for fiction. Like most of my predilections when it comes to literature, gravitating toward this world isn’t really a conscious choice.

How Does a Korean Debate Capitalism vs. Communism?

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Choi In-Hun’s novel The Square is a modern Korean classic that might be called a bildungsroman of ideology. Originally released in 1961, the Dalkey Archive Press translation by Kim Seong-Kon was released as part of the Archive’s Library of Korean Literature in 2014.

White-Out Conditions: Poetic Page, Scale, and Scope

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It’s snowing again, and the world contracts, like my heel’s screws in the cold. The sky and ground reflect one another, white-gray, and the space between the two becomes more tangible, more intimate in the precipitation’s revelation of how far it has to go.

The Bookshelves of Others

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I remember the bookshelf of my childhood home as very imposing and very maroon. It had the entire leather-bound World Book Encyclopedia collection, and I spent many afternoons cross-legged with one of the heavy volumes on my lap, reading entries on “China” or “homeostasis.”

Keeping the Faith: How Anne Lamott Can Save Your Life

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Last summer, when my baby was four months old, we traveled to Israel to visit our families. My husband and I had been moving around the East Coast for several years--from Princeton to Brooklyn just before our trip. We were still figuring out our son’s schedule, nutritional needs, likes

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: John Steinbeck’s Salinas Valley

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For this first installment, I’m focusing on John Steinbeck as a representative of the Western region in American literature. Known for his simplistically powerful writing style, Steinbeck is perhaps known even more widely for his commitment to his hometown Salinas, California. With this in mind, Steinbeck’s first short story

Bhanu Kapil: Hybridity and Disembodiment

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Bhanu Kapil is a British-Indian writer concerned with migration, transformation, loss, and the hybrid text. In her slim, subversive books she considers bodies "at the limit of their particular life," and the embodied prose she fashions to depict them are strange, broken, and revelatory.

Empowerment can start in the kitchen: Eudora Welty’s DELTA WEDDING and THE OPTIMIST’S DAUGHTER

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By focusing on women in a kitchen, Welty seems to shrug the mantles that keep her marginalized—regional and gendered—subverting expectations for canonical American literature as public or inhabited by important men.