Discover a new way to find and share stories you'll love… Learn about Reading Desk

Blog Profile / The Millions

Filed Under:Entertainment / Books
Posts on Regator:9688
Posts / Week:32.5
Archived Since:February 11, 2009

Blog Post Archive


Recommended Reading: Anna Della Subin on our views of procrastination. You could also read Avery Erwin on procrastination and American artists.

Counterproductive Categorization

It’s a question that puzzles writers of all stripes: why is so much academic writing so terrible? It’s an issue that’s been a lifelong head-scratcher for the linguist Steven Pinker, who set out to answer the question once and for all. His verdict? It has to do with the meaning of “literary style.”

God and Gab: The Second Sex by Michael Robbins

Michael Robbins is our contemporary poet laureate for beautiful sins of language.

Just Another Mason

In general, we think of translators as people whose job, briefly summarized, is to create elegant texts out of works in foreign languages. But J.R.R. Tolkien, in his translation of Beowulf, set out to do something different. The Lord of the Rings author published a translation that he kept intentionally clunky. Why? In his telling, he […]

The Art of “The Novel”

I am going to try to convince you that The Novel is one of the most important works of both literary history and criticism to be published in the last decade.

The Great Debates

Christopher Beha just finished reading the complete works of Henry James and writes for The New Yorker about the experience while also touching on both “The Great Y.A.” and “The Great Goldfinch” debates.

Riding and Writing

Recommended reading: Monica McFawn writes for Brevity “On Riding and Writing Boldly.”

“Between research and reflection”

The LA Times has a review up of Eula Biss‘s On Immunity: An Innoculation, an “elegant, intelligent and very beautiful book, which occupies a space between research and reflection.” We covered the collection in our Second-Half 2014 Book Preview, and Biss’s first book, Notes from No Man’s Land, has appeared in several Millions pieces over […]

Living like Fitzgerald

“Recent research has shown that messy, dark, noisy, booze-filled environments like the one Fitzgerald cultivated at La Paix can, in fact, help stimulate creativity.” The Atlantic reports on the importance of environment for creativite work and / or gives you an excuse to live like Fitzgerald.

“Eyes Without a Face”

John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats fame has a debut novel, Wolf in White Van, longlisted for the National Book Award, and Dwight Garner reviews the “strange and involving” novel for The New York Times.

“Pixel Dust”

“In the end, no special effects, dazzling displays, augmented realities, or multimodal cross-platform designs substitute for content. Scholarship, good scholarship, the work of a lifetime commitment to working in a field — mapping its...Show More Summary

The Dead and the Pre-Dead

“For obit writers, the whole world is necessarily divided into the dead and the pre-dead. That’s all there is.” The Paris Review interviews Margalit Fox, a senior writer for The New York Times, on the complicated art of obituaries.


Sarah Pitre reviews Meg Wolitzer‘s first YA novel, Belzhar, for Kirkus Reviews, and while we were already looking forward to the novel, now we’re doubly interested.

A Thousand Words and Then Some: On Literary Portraiture and Alessandro Baricco’s Mr. Gwyn

Chronicling a fatigued writer’s efforts to reinvent himself as a copyist, a profession which he himself admits doesn’t properly exist, Mr. Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn are the portrait and self-portrait, respectively, of a linguistic portraitist.

Nonfiction for Fiction Writers

“I think writing about the real world, as we live in it today, is very difficult; many writers try to escape it. But then what books will be the classics from our generation? Which of them will be the commentaries on our lot?” William Ruof argues that studying nonfiction may make the best fiction writers […]

“In a communal dressing room”

“Long before feminism made fashion a guilty pleasure, my first experience of the sisterhood among strangers took place in a communal dressing room.” Judith Thurman writes for The New Yorker about Women in Clothes and her experiences in thrift stores and clothing swaps. For more about the connections between feminism, dressing and literature, check out […]

Kim Philby, Jack Reacher, and Spy-Novel Nationalism

The United States has not developed a spy-novel nationalism able to stand on its own two feet.

Amtrak Residency, First Class

The 24 writers selected to be part of the first Amtrak Residency Program have been announced. For more about the residency check out our past coverage of the program and our own Nick Ripatrazone‘s essay on reading and writing on tra...

Try, Try Again

We have a lot of prizes that honor well-crafted first novels. But what about the second novel, which is far more likely to be ignored? Herewith, Dan Kois announces that Slate is teaming up with the Whiting Foundation to produce We Second That, a list of under-recognized second novels from the past five years. You […]

“Change the listeners”

“The problem with our national lit isn’t just that it’s often written from the same voice; it’s written often to the same listeners. But if you changed the listeners, you change the art.” Tobias Carroll interviews Kiese Laymon for Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

Copyright © 2011 Regator, LLC