Category Archives: Reading

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Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: Fear as Motivator in Fiction

When I was in graduate school, I was part of a writers group that consisted of a few other MFA candidates. We met at a local bar, enjoyed draft beer and happy hour appetizers, and shared our latest drafts. At … Continue reading

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Lit GIFs: The Tell-Tale Heart

So it’s almost Halloween. Which means jack o’ lanterns and costumes and pumpkin-spiced everything. And, of course, Edgar Allan Poe, reigning king of high-school-English-textbook darkness. Cask of Amontillado, anyone?

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The Evolution of the Style Guide: An Interview with Pyscholinguist Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is a cognitive scientist and psychologist whose work focuses on language–how it works and how it breaks down. Drawing upon his nearly forty years of research, as well as his experiences on the Usage Panel of the American … Continue reading

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The Book That Changed My Country

I mostly sit at the window when I’m working at Café la Habana. I have a spot. It’s the same spot where I sat when my buddy, Santiago, first brought me for coffee when I arrived in Mexico City. But … Continue reading

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Say Anything: A Case for Dialogue

Recently I was reading the prose section of an online literary magazine’s fall issue when I could not overcome a nagging sense that something was lacking. The stories themselves were well-written; the style was cohesive with the magazine’s tone; the … Continue reading

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Why I’m One Bad—But Well-Read—Feminist

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like an adequate representation of “feminist.” When I married my husband a little over seven years ago, I barely waited a month before giving notice at my full-time job so I could give full-time … Continue reading

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Lit GIFs: The Giver (and why I haven’t seen the movie)

Let’s talk about The Giver. The Giver is a wonderful book by Lois Lowry. Many of us probably read it for school. Recently it was made into a movie, which I refuse to see because why in the world is Jonas cast as … Continue reading

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Likeable, Relatable, and Real

When I was a junior in high school, we read The Great Gatsby in English class. I hadn’t read the book yet, but I knew the rest of my family hated it. (They’re Hemingway fans.) “Ugh, that Daisy,” my mom … Continue reading

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Welcome to the Literary Jungle

Several times a year I am the recipient of emails or phone calls from friends, colleagues, parents, or complete strangers in search of writing guidance. Often the messages begins, “Hello, my name is Barbra. My daughter wants to be a … Continue reading

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The Power of An Author Who Can Share Her Insides

At least sixteen years ago, maybe more, I read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation and saw myself. These days, it’s de rigueur to dismiss Wurtzel as a chaotic, self-involved mess. But back then, after receiving a diagnosis of chronic depression with bipolar tendencies, I ate … Continue reading

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