Posts by: Olivia Wetzel

Just Kidding

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Heads up, Harry Potter fans: the staff over at VICE confirm that J.K. Rowling will be coming out with three more short stories about Hogwarts. The stories will provide background to some of the secondary characters in the Harry Potter series: Power, Politics, and Pesky Poltergeists centers on Voldemort’s ties with Professor Horace Slughorn at Hogwarts; […]

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The Clinton Reading List

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For Mother Jones, Jenny Luna notes the top four books on the current New York Times bestseller list: all books written by conservative writers speaking against Hillary Clinton: As seen with the success of Mitt Romney’s 2010 book, No Apology, sales don’t always just reflect readers’ tastes. And back in 2007, conservative groups bought up right-leaning books […]

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Ambiguous Understanding

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Author of The Black History of the White House Clarence Lusane addresses Michelle Obama’s statements at the 2016 DNC about the role of slave labor in the construction of the White House: I think [George Washington] always had an ambiguous understanding in relationship to slavery. So in building this brand new symbol of the new America, the democracy […]

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Piles of Castoffs

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For Signature, Rita Jacobs reflects on the importance and the role of Anne Frank’s diary, 72 years after it was written. She puts two recent works, Nathan Englander’s short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk about Anne Frank,” and Shalom Auslander’s novel, Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel, into context with Frank’s diary: In a way, […]

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The World’s Nicest Dad

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Sara Benincasa‘s latest book, Tim Kaine Is Your Nice Dad, has made its way onto the bestseller lists on Amazon and Kindle since its electronic release on Friday. The 26-page book, a parody of Tim Kaine as “the world’s nicest dad,” was written by Benincasa “very early Friday morning because [she] couldn’t sleep,” with the cover illustrated […]

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Writing for All

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At The Stranger, Rich Smith describes the Till Writer’s Residency program at Smoke Farm in Arlington, Washington. Unlike most residency programs, which are expensive and require writers to pay for travel, the Till Residency is affordable and aims to provide a learning space for all kinds of writers: Till Residency at Smoke Farm, an annual four-day […]

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Appropriation without Acknowledgement

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At Electric Literature, an anonymous writer shares her personal experience with a creative writing classmate who plagiarized other poets. The writer poses the question of when writing crosses the boundary between respectful mimicry and plagiarism: When have I changed [a poem] enough that the poem is now in my possession, my creative and intellectual property? One of my […]

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Mercury Plummeting

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For the New York Times, Marisa Silver reviews Jenni Fagan’s new novel, The Sunlight Pilgrims, which takes place in a scarily plausible world in which ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, and the average temperature is well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Fagan uses the novel to explore not only the very realistic effects that […]

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Where Writers Rule

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At Slate, Laura Miller discusses the TV showrunner as novelist, focusing specifically on Noah Hawley. Hawley, showrunner for the FX show Fargo, has also published multiple novels, including Before the Fall: By contrast, the flawed, struggling, conflicted male characters in both seasons of Fargo register as real people, despite the darkly farcical tone the series takes […]

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Girly, Arty Angst

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At the Atlantic, Amy Weiss-Meyer discusses debut authors Rebecca Schiff and Abigail Ulman, placing them, along with writer Lena Dunham, in a group of authors that critic Harold Rosenberg calls a “mass culture of individuals:” Theirs is a literary ecosystem fueled by the dream of achieving viral acclaim—of appealing to the masses by parading one’s exquisite, […]

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Much Dying to Do

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Jenna Le reviews Vi Khi Nao’s new book of poetry, The Old Philosopher. While calling it “experimental” poetry, Le claims that Nao’s works are “readable,” with an “informal voice,” unlike much experimental poetry: There is a worldly, cosmopolitan sensibility at work here: in their use of line, image, and irony, Nao’s poems are reminiscent of […]

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Sleeping with Machetes

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At the New York Times, Isabel Wilkerson reviews Yaa Gyasi’s debut novel, Homegoing. In this new novel, Gyasi explores the consequences of slavery in 18th-century America and West Africa: Throughout, the focus is on the wounds inflicted on the colonized and the enslaved. The villages of West Africa come alive as Gyasi conjures a world of hand-swept […]

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Lessons from Frog and Toad

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At the Atlantic, Bert Clere reflects on Arnold Lobel’s children’s books, Frog and Toad and Owl at Home, the lessons these stories try to teach, and the representation of the self in each of them: Although Frog and Toad’s world is perhaps more pastoral than that of their average reader, most can recognize and relate to the situations […]

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The Dreamer Gazing

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Using examples like John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim Progress and Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Laura Miller analyzes our modern concept of what an “allegory” is, in comparison to how the word has historically been used to describe literature, and how it originated: Allegorical reading requires sustaining both image and meaning in the reader’s mind, as […]

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Vast Questions About Our Humanity

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Alexis Deacon and Vivian Schawrz’s ” groundbreaking philosophy book for toddlers,” I Am Henry Finch, just won the 2016 Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. The award recognizes children’s books that address social justice and equality for youth: Their picture book is about a young finch called Henry who branches out from the sameness of his flock in order […]

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Rooted Elsewhere

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Most of the rest of the stories in What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours are linked, with major characters in one story later turning up as minor characters in another. This loose, multiracial, polymorphously perverse, generation-spanning cast lives mostly in present-day England, but they have roots elsewhere. Anton grew up in “a country that’s not even sure […]

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Invention of Place

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Aram Goudsouzian reviews Mitchell Duneier’s new book, Ghetto: The Invention of a Place, the History of an Idea. In the book, Duneier explores how the term “ghetto” has evolved throughout history, and what we understand the American ghetto to be today: Engaging a host of classic works of urban sociology, Duneier describes how social scientists […]

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Remaking Jane Austen

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At the New York Times, Alexandra Alter interviews Curtis Sittenfield, author of a modern re-write of Pride and Prejudice, on why she decided to tackle the famous novel, and more: The novel has already proved polarizing among Austen fans. “Sadly disappointing, this book is just trying to cash in on the popularity of Austen’s characters,” one angry […]

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Crushes on Fiction

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Contributors over at Huffington Post discuss five fictional characters that stimulated their pre-teen/teen sexual awakening, including Artemis from Artemis Fowl and Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables: When it comes to my sexual awakening in fiction, specific characters figure very little. A prose adaptation of The Odyssey for young adults (hot goddesses were always […]

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Writing in a Digital Age

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Moleskine has recently come out with a digital notebook and smart-pen that transcribes one’s writing onto their smartphone—seemingly going against their ethos of the importance of pen and paper. Katharine Schwab reckons with this new development, and the fascinating popularity of Moleskine, over at the Atlantic: It’s easy to wax philosophical about the role paper can play […]

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Empowered and Powerless

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Maddie Crum discusses Peggy Orenstein’s new book, Girls and Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape, about female sexuality in our hook-up culture, the problems with school sex ed., and the role of porn in rape culture: Orenstein is clear about her opinion on porn, if only through the statistics she presents. She doesn’t touch on […]

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