You might have noticed the recent trend of character personality quizzes filling up your social media newsfeeds. These quizzes promise to let you know which character you are most like, making it seem as if we read and watch television to find traces of ourselves fleshed out in fictional form....more
Posts Tagged: The Millions
Gila Lyons has a strikingly vulnerable essay at The Millions about her decision to start taking anti-anxiety medication. Typically, artists who suffer from mental health issues opt to ride against the current and let their creativity take precedent. Yet, Lyons took the road less traveled and chose mental stability over waxing genius....more
What role can a knowledge of scientific concepts play in understanding literature? It comes as no surprise that “biological science remains more-or-less completely un-talked about in English seminar,” as M.M. Owen writes in a piece featured on The Millions, but does this mean that science should be ignored in discussions of literature?...more
This conversation at the Millions between Edan Lepucki and her copyeditor Susan Bradanini Betz is a beautiful paean to the editing process—and enlightening for anyone who wonders what precisely a copyeditor does.
Lepucki and Betz discuss author/editor compatibility, obsessive style sheets, and Donna Tartt’s anti-copyediting broadside....more
C. Max Magee from The Millions has collected the most “favorited” tweets of many writers and lit website. The collection, featuring Rumpus interviewees Colson Whitehead, Susan Orlean and The Rumpus itself!
We know you now want to discover what our most favorited tweet is, so, check the list out!...more
What if classic authors had been raised in the era of Upworthy headlines and titled their books accordingly?
At the Millions, Janet Potter rewrites book titles as clickbait.
Who wouldn’t, for example, want to read Jane Austen’s masterpiece He Didn’t Want to Dance with Her When They First Met....more
Those who are careful about their grammar run the risk of seeming pretentious. Strict adherence to grammar rules is sometimes written off as stuffy and elitist. There is a greater danger, however, in falling into the trap of being careless with language, or so Fiona Maazel writes in a piece called “Commercial Grammar.”
Imprecision allows you to say one thing when you really mean another…
Adam Dalva found his story in the pages of Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch (reviewed by The Rumpus here). In his essay featured on The Millions, Dalva explores the uncanny similarities between his own life and that of Theo Decker, a fictional character who shares his age, race, sex, and locale....more
Last month, three of J.D. Salinger’s unpublished stories were leaked. One of these stories, “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” includes a young Holden Caulfield, and describes his brother’s death, “an incident only alluded to in the novel.”
In an essay featured by The Millions, Ian Rogers discusses the importance of respecting Salinger’s wishes to view “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls” as an experiment rather than a prequel to The Catcher in the Rye....more
Over at The Millions, several esteemed editors discuss their journals’ rejection policies. Magazines represented include The Paris Review, Hobart, The Rattling Wall, The Harvard Review, and others. It is wonderfully humbling as a writer to be reminded how difficult the task of rejecting good work can be....more
“Does anybody outside of our circle care?” asks The Millions’ Nick Ripatrazone in a post about literary magazines. “What is the wider cultural influence of literary magazines?”
To try to figure it out, he looks at pop-culture depictions of lit-mags, from a George Plimpton cameo on The Simpsons to a whole episode of Cheers about submitting—and then receiving rejection letters for—poetry....more
Teaching is a complicated profession, especially in the field of creative writing where emotions run high.
Does teaching hurt your writing? What if you’re an able writer but a mediocre teacher?
Joyce Hinnefeld tackles her ambivalence about the job she’s been doing for two decades with admirable honesty in this essay at The Millions....more
If you can’t describe the color red to someone born blind, here are some scents you can’t describe to someone born anosmic, or without a sense of smell: “feet, chalk, lilacs, gardenias, sour milk, rain, new cars, Chanel No. 5, Old Spice, greasepaint, [and] napalm.”
In a strangely fascinating essay at The Millions, Rebecca Steinitz describes what it’s like believing for years that smells are a poetic fiction invented for books—and how lacking this particular sense may somehow make her a better editor....more
Alors, Mademoiselle, have you noticed how we French, unlike our Anglo-Saxon friends, use all the muscles in our face and mouth when speaking? Raise your upper lip toward your nose. When performed correctly, this action will cause the nostrils to flare.
The Millions “asked nine English scholars to choose one novel as the greatest our country has ever produced.”
The results span a wide range subjects, authors, and time periods.
Most you’ve heard of, a few you haven’t, but all of them dig into the American experience in rich and troubling ways....more
Remember the Steve Almond essay “Lost and Found” from back in 2009?
It was about a novel by John Williams (not the Star Wars composer) called Stoner (not like the marijuana enthusiast), which, though underappreciated by the world at large, bowled Almond over with its “tender and ruthless honesty.”
At The Millions, Claire Cameron has reopened the topic for discussion with a detailed history of a book that is somehow simultaneously universally praised and universally ignored....more
Want to see the new film version of The Great Gatsby but afraid it won’t live up to the book?
At The Millions, five English professors pass judgment on the success of the adaptation.
Read it to find out what additional source material Baz Luhrmann drew on and whether Carey Mulligan breathed a life into the role of Daisy that “honestly, Fitzgerald didn’t.”...more
Arguably, no other story has been made to express absolute black and absolute white as clearly as World War II. So how can an artist integrate the textures of grey that make a story truly poignant?
In an essay for The Millions, Charles-Adam Foster-Simard reviews an Art Spiegelman exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery called “CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps.”
It’s as good a reason as any to explore the medium of graphic novels and the difficulty of making art about the Holocaust, and Foster-Simard does so in a way that really illuminates Spiegelman’s impact on comics and literature....more
“Why are they still bothering with paperbacks?” This came from a coffee-shop acquaintance when he heard my book was soon to come out in paperback, nine months after its hardcover release. “Anyone who wants it half price already bought it on ebook, or Amazon.”
At The Millions, Nicole Bernier writes about the point of the paperback....more
It always feels like society is crumbling when big linguistic changes occur, but as Megan Garber points out, even notorious grammar stickler William Safire advised rewriting sentences to avoid using the objective-case equivalent of “who.”
If “whom” really did die out, traditionalists would mourn, but at least they wouldn’t have to deal with people overcorrecting in an attempt to sound formal....more
Mark O’Connell, author of the first original e-book from The Millions, talks about why he is interested in and troubled by what he calls this “frictionless sharing and flattening of affect,” particularly when it comes to what Internet inside jokes have nicknamed Epic Fails....more
There is much more to Truman Capote than just being the man behind Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.
Beyond the slow, warbling flamboyant character that has been portrayed in the movies, he was one of the last self-invented writers....more
Teenagers aren’t exactly renowned for pouring out their feelings to the adults in their lives.
“It makes me think that this is why The Catcher in the Rye is a classic,” writes Carolyn Ross at The Millions. “People are just so thrilled to hear a teenage boy’s thoughts.”
But you can always get at least a little insight into someone’s thoughts by looking at the books they like, and as a high-school teacher, Ross knows what books teenage boys like....more
Our friends over at The Millions are branching out: in addition to the features on their fantastic website, they’re starting to publish ebooks.
The inaugural volume is called Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever, but judging by the excerpt they’ve posted, there’s nothing fail about it....more
Instead of trying to wrestle a year’s worth of literature into one tidy little list, The Millions has asked various writers to simply discuss anything good they read this year, whether it was new or old or in between.
So far, people like Emma Straub, Choire Sicha, and Jeffrey Eugenides have weighed in (who knew Sicha was such a sci-fi fan?), and we’ll get more as the month continues....more
Mark O’Connell tells a fascinating story in The Millions about his encounter with a recently released murderer, Malcolm MacArthur.
O’Connell grew up hearing and reading stories about MacArthur murders, but his favorite is a fictional novel, The Book of Evidence, whose main character, Freddie Montgomery, is based on MacArthur....more