The Readers: Gabrielle Bellot and Writing Beyond The Binary

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Bellot seems keenly interested in the power of stories, in the way that history is a story so frequently retold that it assumes the impunity of fact, and the way that time’s linearity—in social progress and our individual experiences—is sometimes as constructed as anything else.

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.

Ethnographic Writing and Poetic Discipline

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One of the most important parts of my education, both as a writer and a human being, has been studying anthropology--and in particular, learning to write ethnographically.

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.

Round-Up: Print Sales on the Rise, Trayvon Martin, and Amazon Books

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From an increase in print sales to a book about Trayvon Martin, here’s the latest literary news.

Re-Reading the ‘80s: Bright Lights, Big City

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The New York Times was not impressed with Bright Lights, Big City when it first appeared in 1984. “A clever, breezy--and in the end, facile documentary,” was what they said.

Mary Gordon’s Spending: A Different Breed of Fantasy Lit

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Several years back, I read a book that was unlike nearly any other I’d read before in one striking way: nothing particularly bad happened in it. The protagonist experienced minor internal struggles and dilemmas, but basically, everything came up roses. This felt like a major departure from Great Literature

Past the City Limit Sign: The Role of Rural in 2016 Books

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What kinds of stories will emerge that focus on rural or city settings during a Trump presidency? Will the typical themes continue to be cemented or will variations become the norm?