I study, teach, and write about things that non-English professors also encounter every day: words and images. Yet when English profs teach these materials in the classroom, and especially when we write about them in academic journals or scholarly books, we sound different.
A Derangement show is the perfect intro to a New York evening. Starting at 7:30 and running until around 10, there's no cover, a good bar, and plenty of places to sit, lean, or sway around to get caught up in the show.
Dan Chaon was recently taken to task in Salon for suggesting that young writers read literary fiction. Why? Because it's "terrible." But Chaon wasn't recommending that young writers read only literary fiction. His advice was actually more specific than that.
There are many other aspects to being a woman -- to being human -- that can't be expressed through memoir. For an alternate narrative experience, read the novel The Salt God's Daughter by Ilie Ruby -- a lyrical, luxuriantly mystical meditation on being female.
This wildly original novel careens from one crisp scene to another, combining dry wit, narrative verve, and an abiding melancholy. It's hard to believe such an entertaining, enjoyable novel bears the "literary fiction" stamp of highbrow approval.
From Sugar, I learned that our most vital development happens through commitment to the work, even if that work comes out misshapen or in terrible need of a copyedit. Even in the flaws, there is a buried truth -- it's that second beating heart that you needed to see for yourself.
Fans of the young adult genre will spot this as a spin on A Bridge To Terabithia and other tales of bittersweet childhood -- instead of escaping to a fantasy world, our heroine and her doomed first love are trapped in an end of the world scenario.
It's an odd animal: women's literary fiction -- NOT erotica -- with a brazen, sensual and deeply flawed main character. Carmen is perpetually concerned with, touching and baring her body. Yet the sex never becomes the story; it isn't that sort of book.