Posts by: Rosamund Lannin

R.L. Stine Takes to Reddit and Tells All

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90s kids probably remember Goosebumps, the popular series of children’s horror novellas that put kid protagonists in all manner of spooky situations. Author R.L. Stine took to Reddit for an AMA last week, holding forth on questions like “Do you write out fully sketched profiles of characters before you start the plot?” and “Why the war on bedtime?” He also shares whether he liked those R.L.

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Contentious Comic BFFs

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You may have missed Matt Groening and Lynda Barry in Sydney this past weekend, but never fear: over at the Guardian, you can still read about their lifelong friendship, which persists despite diverging paths. Groening is best known for The Simpsons, Barry for Ernie Pook’s Comeek; it all began at Evergreen College, where Matt Groening edited the school newspaper.

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New Scares

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Happy day after Halloween! For the New York Times, Terrence Rafferty reviews a variety of chilling fiction, and delves deep into why these are exceptional:

The short story is the ideal form for horror because it can convey a quick, vivid impression of fear, without having to extend the action past the breaking point of the reader’s credulity… For longer works like “The Graveyard Apartment,” there’s really only one basic plot available: A person (or a group of people) struggles to escape an impossible situation.

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Fire, Magic, and Flash Fiction

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At WhiskeyPaper, Linda Niehoff writes briefly and beautifully about fire and magic, hinting at post-apocalyptic worlds with lines like, “We’d spent long evenings sewing together old bedsheets and nightgowns, the last pillowcase.”

“Elsewhere” brings to mind Ray Bradbury and autumn nights, and is best read in one sitting.

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Tales from the Comment Crypt

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Selma Lagerlöf, an Exception to the Rule

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Since the the first Nobel Prize was awarded, Cassie Gonzales explains in “An Unconventional Nobel Laureate” at the Ploughshares blog, the Laureate winner list has not been a bastion of diversity. However, Selma Lagerlöf was an exception—in her brief, funny essay, Gonzalez explains how a “disabled, Swedish, cross-genre, lady-loving author” bucked the white male (and heterosexual and able-bodied) trend back in 1909.

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In Sickness and Friendship and Jane Austen

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Long before Curtis Sittenfeld was a New York Times bestselling author (Eligible), she was friends with Sam Park (This Burns My Heart). And they’re still friends: in an essay for the New Yorker, Sittenfeld chronicles their decades-long platonic romance, from early days collaborating on “50 Most Beautiful Sexiest Men Alive of the Year at Stanford” to dedicating their novels to each other to Park’s diagnosis of Stage III-C stomach cancer in 2014.

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This Land Is Their Land

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In Brooklyn Magazine’s “The Musical Map of the United States,” writers create a soundtrack of place association. The 50+ essays on songs and their states are sweet and sad and funny, but always specific. Sleeper hits like Emily Hilleren’s “The Rural Alberta Advantage” (North Dakota) give a very personal sense of what it means to be from somewhere:

Coming from a place known mainly for being where Mount Rushmore isn’t, North Dakotans can have a middle child’s craving for attention.

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Elena Ferrante and the Picture on the Back Cover

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Essayist Marie Myung-Ok Lee’s obsession with author photos leads to authorial reflections on gender, representation, and what writers owe the public in “Occupy Author Photo: On Elena Ferrante, Privacy, and Women Writers” at The Millions. Starting with her own experiences and branching out to Mary Oliver, Sarah Howe, and eventually Elena Ferrante, she calls for a rethinking of the author photo and its social implications.

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Beyond “The Lottery”

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Although best known for “The Lottery”, there was much more to Shirley Jackson’s work—and life. At the New York Times, Charles McGrath reviews of Ruth Franklin’s new biography A Rather Haunted Life, and explores Franklin’s journalistic yet personal take on the woman who remains massively influential, but often overlooked in the American literary canon.

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Publish a Book in Twelve Easy Steps

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Comedian Sara Benincasa is no stranger to being a working writer—in fact, she just wrote a book about it. Now, at Medium, she shares her secrets on getting published. Accessible and funny, Benincasa offers tips like “NO MONEY UPFRONT BECAUSE ANY AGENT WHO DOES THAT IS A CROOK,” details about advances and royalties, and the always-important advice to “mostly just keep writing a lot.”

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Meaty on TV

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Cable television channel FX has purchased Meaty, a comedy series based on Samantha Irby’s memoir of the same title. Developed by Irby, Jessi Klein (head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, author of You’ll Get Over It), and Abbi Jacobson (Broad City, author of forthcoming Carry this Book), the show will focus on “failed relationships, taco feasts, her struggles with Crohn’s disease, poverty, blackness, and body image.”

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When Home Doesn’t Embrace

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Roxane Gay is from the Midwest, but as a woman of color she feels like an outsider in the rural places she often inhabits. In an essay for Brevity“Black in Middle America,” Gay examines reactions to her face in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a place so remote “my blackness was more curiosity than threat”, and in Illinois’s cornfields—somewhere blackness is more familiar but no more understood.

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Bisexuality in History, Reality

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Women loving women is nothing new, and not a phase: in Hazel Newlevant’s comic at BuzzFeed, “Badass Bisexual Women In History You Should Know,” she walks through the personal lives of Josephine Baker, Virginia Woolf, and more as part of a conversation with her mother, who starts out with one opinion but seems open to another.

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