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Why Writers Must Plan To Be Surprised

Every writer I know is at some point surprised by what they write. In fact, being surprised by what we write is as dependable as it is uncontrollable. Garth Stein, the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, came to novel-writing via screenwriting. Show More Summary

Yesteryear in the NFL

The New England Patriots Rothaus 1981 Submitter: This is Patriot Nation where I found this book, so perhaps that’s enough incentive to keep this 35 year old book on the Pats. It certainly looks like it got a lot of use over the years. Unfortunately, this book was written before our 8 appearances and 4 […]

Dry Eyes

“My daughter spent some of this summer performing a dance, which she learned at summer camp, to a certain song by Shakira, called “Waka Waka.” It was earnest, funny, beautiful dance; however, I am, it seems, unable to watch my daughter perform her Shakira dance, to a song I don’t very much care for, without […]

Do You Eat Pork?

And now, a little bit about a world you might be totally unfamiliar with; this piece from The Rumpus is a fascinating, in-depth look at identity politics and eating pork in the Chinese borderlands. Bonus: a complementary piece about what it’s like to be a Chinese-American writer living in china.

80 Books You Can Read If You Want To

Last week, I told you about Rebecca Solnit’s essay “Eighty Books No Woman Should Read,” which is a tongue-in-cheek riff on Esquire’s “80 Books Every Man Must Read” list. Now, here’s a fascinating rebuttal from Electric Literature in which Sigal Samuel ponders what might be gained by reading sexist old white guys.

Taste Lessons for Adults

How do you eat your broccoli? British food historian Bee Wilson’s newest book, First Bite: How We Learn to Eat takes a hard look at how eating is a learned, cultural behavior–and how it’s never too late to change bad eating habits.

She Totally Did

“‘I can hold my own in the bedroom and the boardroom,’ she said to no one, and to everyone. ‘You should never underestimate me.’ She took off her blonde ponytail and shook her hair loose; there was another blonde ponytail underneath it.” There’s no better time than now to revisit Mallory Ortberg’s classic, unbelievably funny […]

Thankfully Reading Challenge – Planning Your Read

Good morning! On this Saturday after Thanksgiving, I’m hosting a Thankfully Reading Challenge today. I hope your holiday weekend has been a bookish success thus far. I haven’t read as much as I’d thought, but I have enjoyed reading in the same room as my dad. It’s not often that I’m able to do that. […]

Real Life Romance: Nur Jahan and Jahangir

Long before a real life romance inspired the building of the Taj Mahal, India saw another real life romance play out in the royal family. The love story between Nur Jahan and Jahangir led to the expansion of the Mughal Empire, religious freedoms, and increased rights for women. Show More Summary

For Our Consideration: Marvel’s X-Men face their greatest challenge: Change or die

The X-Men were the most popular franchise in comics for more than 20 years. For a generation of readers who grew up in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the X-Men were comics, the axis around which the entire industry rotated. In 2015, this is most decidedly no longer true. Show More Summary

Review: Blogging Death, and Searching for Meaning in a Painful Decline

The following review first appeared in The National Book Review We Know How This Ends: Living While Dying By Bruce Kramer with Cathy Wurzer Univ. of Minnesota Press 208 pp. $22.95 By Jim Swearingen When Bruce Kramer, a Minnesota professor...Show More Summary

Before They Were Notable: 2015

This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out.

Lights of Lit

Infographic of the Week: Check out these memorable lights in literature from Solar Centre to brighten your day.

Inside The New York Times Book Review Podcast: Lisa Randall’s ‘Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs’

Randall talks about her new book, and Louisa Lim discusses five memoirs about fleeing North Korea.

Inside the List

Richard Paul Evans, whose novel “The Mistletoe Inn” is No. 9 on the hardcover fiction list, once heard from his fourth-grade teacher: “Your parents lied to you. There is no Santa.”

Paperback Row

Recently reviewed books of particular interest.

Author’s Note: Highly Unlikely

We’ve arrived at a point where not only is reality stranger than fiction, but we don’t allow our fiction to be even close to how strange real life is every day.

Mary Gaitskill’s ‘The Mare’

An emotionally electric triangle of a woman, a girl and a horse is mutually transformative.

John Irving’s ‘Avenue of Mysteries’

Irving’s latest novel chronicles the rise of a child genius from a trash heap in Mexico to literary stardom.

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