The Year of Reading Women


There’s an important essay going around that, if you haven’t read it yet, you should read now before finishing this post. It’s called On Pandering by Claire Vaye Watkins, who is known to me by her fantastic 2013 debut collection of short stories, Battleborn, which won five literary awards.

The essay is actually a speech Watkins gave as a lecture during the 2015 Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop. Either way, the content rattled me.

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The Right Word

I’m always so impressed with writers who construct amazing sentences comprised of exactly the right words. I try to do this with my own writing, but know it’s a talent that needs much developed. I recently asked my writing friend Kim Davis, who writes beautiful poetry, for advice on polishing my word-choice skills. She had some simple advice.

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Every Bookshelf is Illuminated

I love libraries. If you’re a writer, no doubt you do, too. So it’s wonderful to see that these buildings still exist — especially in the age of digital books — and winning awards for their architectural design. The Castro Leal Library in Mexico City is one such place. It recently won first prize in the institutional category in the 2012 Mexican Association of Interior Designers’ AMDI Awards. Simple strips of LED lights mounted on each bookshelf create a ethereal glow. What a beautiful place. For more images see the gallery here.

via Gizmag

Related post: A Place to Write

Literary Fiction is a Mental Workout

Just when I was getting worried about the waning interest in fiction comes this little piece of research from a professor at Stanford University. Joshua Landy, an associate professor of French and Italian, found that literary works of fiction offer “a new set of methods for becoming a better maker of arguments, a better redeemer of one’s own existence, a person of stronger faith or a person with a quieter mind.” Continue reading

Your E-Book Is Reading You

I don’t have a Kindle or any other kind of e-book. I prefer paper to plastic when it comes to a “screen.” I’ve said it before in other forums, but the ideal electronic book for me would be a paperback-like object — one that was bendable, smelled like paper and had 200 or so pages — but that worked like an e-book. You could download your favorite novel or story collection to this little gadget, enjoy it’s bookiness and still have all of the advantages of an electronic book. Continue reading

Pop Up Books for Grown Ups

In this world filling fast with digital books, I love to see that paper books are still going a long way toward capturing the imagination of readers. Thank good for artists like Mengyu Chen. Check out her pop-up books for grown ups. And then ask yourself, What if there were pop-up libraries devoted only to pop-up books?

Pop-Up Libraries Popping Up

I loved Robin Coyle’s post a couple of weeks ago about Cozy Bookstores. It made me reminisce for the future (is that possible?), when e-books become ubiquitous and bookstores disappear. Maybe we’ll see pop-up libraries, like the ones highlighted in this article from Inhabitat. The “buildings” are unconventional, like an old phone booth or a bus. And they’re places where book browsers can take a book as long as leave another one behind. The fact that people are interested in developing pop-up libraries in the first place gives me hope that e-books won’t obliterate libraries.

Photo: Tower of Babel by Argentinian artist Marta Minujin