First, I just finished the incredible Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (I know I’m like 2 years late in coming to this book, so I’m not claiming what I have to say is relevant) This is one of those books that I loved: prose that enthralled and surprised, characters that come alive on the page, the kind of writing that feels so effortless that it makes me feel sort of unworthy and sad inside. Do you ever have this experience? You read a book so good, so beautifully wrought that it makes your own writing feel like hack scribbling. A great book, but like other great books and writers (Ian McEwan is a big offender and Toni Morrison too) that are so good I wonder why I keep plugging away. The dream, the hope, that one day too I can make someone hate their own work. (I’m just kidding, of course. Sort of.)
The 826 National “Are you Absolutely, Positively, and Wholeheartedly Ready to Publish Your Novel?” poster is highly amusing.
Over at The Rumpus, Steve Almond’s feature “The New Yorker’s One Over 40” is one of the best comments I’ve read on the 20 writers under 40 list. There have been tons of chatter about that list and it has been great to read through the emotion this concept inspires.
In lit mags, my latest obsession is Storyglossia. The latest issue is from February 2010. I adore all of the work in the issue, but “Dirty Girl” by Yvette Ward-Horner is extra special. Read the archives if you aren’t up to date with this online magazine. They have great stories from original, fresh voices.