“Into the Mainstream”

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“At bottom, the role of the book critic is to be an explicator of texts, conveying to curious readers what an author is trying to do in a given story, or novel, or poem.”

Oscar Villaon’s essay, “Into the Mainstream,” which he describes as “a review of The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, but it’s really an initial attempt (on my part) to figure out who the hell we’re writing for — an uncertainty that plagues all writers, not just us mexicanos.


Isaac Fitzgerald has been a firefighter, worked on a boat, and was once given a sword by a king, thereby accomplishing three out of five of his childhood goals. Formerly of The Rumpus and McSweeney’s and most recently the founding editor of BuzzFeed Books, Isaac is now the co-host of BuzzFeed News’ Twitter Morning Show, #AMtoDM. He also appears frequently on The Today Show to talk books, and is co-author of Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them and Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes) (winner of an IACP award), and the author of a YA novel and picture book forthcoming from Bloomsbury. He uses Twitter. More from this author →