The Readers Archive

The Readers: William H. Gass and Documenting the Self

Author: | Categories: Reading, Series No comments
Behaving authentically in the world is never easy or straightforward; critics like William Gass show us, among many other things, that we are not alone in these questions of authenticity, and that we never really have been.

The Readers: Christian Lorentzen and the Nature of Hipness

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
While hipness and ‘hipster-ness’ may not necessarily be the same thing, Lorentzen’s body of work has followed everything hip in the literary world with an anthropologist’s eye to ritual and an economist’s knowledge of market-driven systems.

The Readers: Daphne Merkin and All Our Regular Hells

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
In her memoir This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression, New York writer Daphne Merkin calls herself “a poor little rich girl” before anyone else can; raised by philanthropist parents on Park Avenue, her financial privileges are plain.

The Readers: Cynthia Ozick and Backward Glances

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
It seems fitting that the title of Ozick’s latest book reads like a list or exercise in taxonomy: the book is rampant with clear-eyed perceptions and smooth digs, classic wit and a keen interest in dividing and categorizing, in speaking to the differences between things.

The Readers: Hilton Als and the Queer Imagination

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
Recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for theater criticism, Hilton Als often writes about the intersections of performativity, popular culture, and reflection—that is, the ways art can and cannot reflect something resembling truth. I first found my way to his writing through his book White Girls.

The Readers: Maureen Corrigan and the Fictions That Endure

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
If you listen to NPR, you might vaguely recognize Maureen Corrigan’s voice. Even and deliberate, it always has an elusive quality: Corrigan’s book review segments on Fresh Air, usually ranging from five to eight minutes, are self-contained things, and every word feels carefully chosen.

The Readers: Carmen Maria Machado and Following Your Idols

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
Carmen Maria Machado’s critical work reflects wide-ranging interests, and some of her most exciting writing takes place in reviews of fiction that resembles her own—literature that is speculative, scary, and queer.

The Readers: David Orr and Careers of Loneliness

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
I stumbled upon David Orr’s work through his piece “Why Is a Poet’s First Collection So Important?” published in the New York Times at the beginning of February. The Facebook preview of the piece featured pictures of poets Donika Kelly and Max Ritvo below that earnest headline.

The Readers: Katy Waldman and the Uses of Wit

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
For the young, left-leaning reader, there are plenty of smart literary voices online to choose from, but I often find myself gravitating toward Katy Waldman, a staff writer at Slate whose literary criticism offers some of the freshest takes on books that you are likely to find anywhere.

The Readers: Gabrielle Bellot and Writing Beyond the Binary

Author: | Categories: Series No comments
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.