From the category archives:


“Therein…lies the richness of reading”

October 3, 2013

In his brief, memorable novel How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Mohsin Hamid reminds us of the true relationship between readers and writers. Like all books, this…book is a co-creative project. When you watch a TV show or movie, what you see looks like what it physically represents. A man looks like a […]

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May all your fictions be forbidden…

June 25, 2013

Well, perhaps not. This week in The Public Humanist I discuss sisters, sin and sibilance, or maybe it’s husbands and Humberts, or 50 Shades and forbidden fictions, or just Lo-lee-ta…

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walk around feeling like a leaf

June 8, 2013

Wise words, in her beautiful hand, from poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye.

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Drowning (Swimming?) in Books

May 30, 2013

Latest essay for The Public Humanist, in which I discuss our little “book problem.” Part one of many, I should imagine.

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Write me a few of your lines

March 26, 2013

Continuing the epistolary theme (which continues in my life and my mind):  

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read. write more letters. revive.

March 14, 2013

In The Public Humanist today, I proselytize and opine on the importance of writing letters. If you need more convincing, consider Sylvia Townsend Warner’s comment, in a letter to her beloved correspondent William Maxwell, on the death of another treasured correspondent: “I feel that I am on less intimate terms with myself since I can […]

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Chip Kidd designs AMAZING book covers

February 2, 2013

What writer doesn’t want a reader who reads his or her work with so much care, so much attention to what’s really going on in the story and how best to represent that visually?    

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One for the books…

December 3, 2012

For a laugh, listen to Joe Queenan, author of, most recently, One for the Books, talking about his prolific reading on NPR. For a sigh, scroll down and read the comments, which prove Wavy Gravy’s assertion that if you don’t have a sense of humor, it just isn’t funny. Dios mío, NPR, wherefore art thy […]

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30 days. 50,000 words. Why the heck not?

October 27, 2012

It’s that time of year again: time to write a novel. You can read my paean to National Novel Writing Month and its founder, Chris Baty, to learn more about the what and the why of NaNoWriMo. My purpose here is to offer inspiration for the how. I said last year that anything worth doing is worth […]

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the writing will create the mood

July 12, 2012

In an interview reprinted in The Paris Review Interviews, III, the interviewer asks Joyce Carol Oates, “Do you find emotional stability is necessary in order to write? Or can you get to work whatever your state of mind? Is your mood reflected in what you write?” and etc. Oates answers: One must be pitiless about […]

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