Reading Archive

The Lonely Reader (Part One)

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Guest post by Greg Schutz “I have always wondered why short stories aren’t more popular in this country,” muses Barbara Kingsolver in her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2001. “We Americans are such busy people you’d think we’d jump at the chance to have our literary wisdom

Objects of Affection

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman It was 2000, late September. I was twenty years old, studying abroad in Italy, and on my way to Munich on a train. Just before boarding, I picked up a copy of Anne Michaels’¬†Fugitive Pieces. I didn’t have a lot of extra spending

In Review: ‘Gold Boy, Emerald Girl’

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This week, we invite you to read guest blogger Fan Wu‘s review of Yiyun Li’s new story collection, Gold Boy, Emerald Girl. It was published in the San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday.

Your Misery, Your Morphia: Thoughts on Charles Baxter and “Spiritual” Fiction

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Guest post by Greg Schutz In “Gershwin’s Second Prelude,” the first story in Charles Baxter‘s first book, the 1984 collection Harmony of the World, the elderly piano instructor Madame Gutowski leans back to admonish Kate, her pupil. “Now listen,” she says. “You children think you are so new with

Learning the Taste of Stone

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Guest post by Megan Mayhew Bergman Donald Hall is a thing of beauty. I’ve had the pleasure of hearing him speak–seeing him speak–twice at Bennington. The second was in June 2009–six weeks after my first child was born, a week after attending my beloved mother-in-law, Anna’s, memorial service, and

Literary Conversations

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Guest post by Carol Keeley It began, like most obsessions, in a used bookstore on Broadway. Late one afternoon, I was listlessly foraging for food and stopped to browse pre-loved books in my old Chicago neighborhood. I venture to say that most people most of the time experience the

The Conceit of Wisdom

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Guest post by Carol Keeley Garrison Keillor kicked the beehive with his recent death-of-publishing op-ed. The reaction was vigorously optimistic, with a little messenger-mocking. The backdrop to this volley was BookExpo America, widely described as funereal. As usual, I agree with everyone. Keillor is right that the era of

My Dinner with Girolamo

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? This question has always struck me as an annoying and strange litmus test for I know not what. Anyhow, I think I finally have a pat answer I can provide

Fleas Are for Lovers

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Guest post by Bridget Lowe In high school I bought a lime green velvet pea coat from the garage sale of an elderly woman who lived up the street. Why she owned it in the first place I don’t know, as it was Jimi Hendrix-worthy in its boldness. The

The Voice Inside the Book

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Guest post by Carol Keeley My friend Pip sent an intriguing note recently. He’d just finished reading A Short History of Nearly Everything and had a taste for something classic, so pulled Homer from his shelves. The book was part of a library his dad had accumulated, Pip wrote.