Posts Tagged: The Millions

Joyce’s Forgotten Rival

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For The Millions, Austin Ratner documents the relationship between the “forgotten” Irish writer James Stephens and the famed James Joyce. Despite starting as literary rivals, Joyce wanted Stephens to finish Finnegans Wake if he ever lost his eyesight. In addition, the essay examines Stephens’s influence on other well-known Irish writers, including Seán O’Casey and Eugene O’Neill.

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Read All These

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Why stuff your body with Thanksgiving leftovers when you could be stuffing your bag with used books?

It was another reminder that I will surely die before I read all of my books, that my descendants will one day be forced to shovel through it all, skeptically asking one another, “Did he actually read all these?”

(On second thought, go ahead and finish those sweet potatoes.)

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Marginalized

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Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? First, it keeps you awake — not merely conscious, but wide awake. Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.

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Cutting a Long Story Short

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November is here, and with it #NaNoWriMo returns! But if you don’t feel like writing 50,000 words in thirty days, over at The Millions Michael Bourne has another option for you, #NaGrafWriMo:

…we would like to propose a kinder, gentler alternative to NaNoWriMo, to be called National Paragraph Writing Month, during which we all strive to write one truly worthwhile paragraph.

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Adventures Are Overrated

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For The Millions, Bill Morris wonders what value adventures and life experiences have on writing good fiction. While at first Morris is convinced that adventure is necessary to write quality work, Flannery O’Connor’s Mystery and Manners convinces him that travel and exploring the world are not entirely necessary:

My big mistakes, I now realize, were to equate adventure with experience and to believe that the writer’s job is to be merged in experience.

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Lisbon: A City in Amber

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Soares notes a longing for a past moment in Lisbon, for an unnamed soul who he has missed. “I love you as ships passing one another must love, feeling an unaccountable nostalgia in their passing.” … To call Lisbon a “city of lost things,” is to say it is a place where those losses can be felt in the cafés and the streets and with each “Bom dia” you might say to a garçom on the esplanade, just as Fernando Pessoa did. 

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Does Music “Unleash Latent Genius”?

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For The Millions, Jacob Lambert explores how listening to music while writing can influence performance. Although some studies show that music may impede concentration and “disrupt writing fluency,” others suggest that music can “lift your mood and increase your arousal.” Lambert is ultimately inconclusive in the article, however he does reference Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, which was written while listening to Nine Inch Nails:

It’s a tempting narrative, and one that fits with the Internet’s culture of simple solutions: If you’re having trouble with that short story, just put on some Brian Eno.

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Judging the Judges

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This year’s judges of the National Book Award seem to agree that women’s nonfiction writing is abundant and prize-worthy. The 2015 nonfiction longlist includes seven female-authored books, out of 10, the largest percentage of female nominees in the prize’s history. The longlist also contains two books by people of color, compared to last year’s one.

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Lydia Davis: A Prolific Tweeter

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For The Millions, Adam Boffa compares Lydia Davis’s short stories to social media. He argues that Davis’s compressed language, as well as her emphasis on routine and tragedy, works to “recreate a phenomenon that occurs daily on social media”:

Davis’s work, and maybe social media at its best, becomes a sort of celebration of the ordinary, the boring, the totally expected, the regular.

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“The Labor of Reconsideration”

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For the Millions, Philip Graham considers how childhood traumas can inspire art. In his exploration, Graham looks to works by John Gardner, Rabih Alameddine, and James Baldwin, authors who confront “psychic wounds” and use writing as a method of healing:

We writers are used to looking back, locating in our rough drafts any glimmer that might show the way forward.

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An Experimental Novel from Beyond the Grave

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Often mentioned in the same breath as works of James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, Ó Cadhain’s novel is, in some ways, even more radically experimental. For starters, all the characters are dead and speaking from inside their coffins…

The Millions reviews Máirtín Ó Cadhain’s modernist classic ‘Cré na Cille’ (The Dirty Dust), now available in English for the first time.

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Salinger’s “Inscrutable” Text

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For The Millions, Christian Kriticos revisits J.D. Salinger’s story “Hapworth 16, 1924,” and tries to place the story within Salinger’s celebrated career. Although the story receives much criticism for its “strange” meandering style, Kriticos claims this structure “follows the contours of the mind” and that it should be appreciated for diverging from Salinger’s usual style:

Unlike the modernist form of stream-of-consciousness, “Hapworth” is both internal and external at the same time: in addressing his letter to his family, Seymour the narrator is communicating externally; but, at the same time, large portions of the letter seem to be directed at himself.

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