ESSENTIAL READING

Michael Knight’s Stories to Put in Your Pockets

by Jon Michaud

 

In this month's Book Drop, our head librarian Jon Michaud talks to Michael Knight about his new short story collection Eveningland. The two discuss the difference between writing short stories and novels, embracing the influence of other authors, and how a collection of stories by John Cheever inspired his book. 

 

"We enter this book of stories, which are mostly about the gilded, well-to-do citizens of Mobile, Alabama, looking for jewels, only to be smashed across the head. Knight’s fictions are elegantly written and easy to read but they pack a punch." read more 

Six Questions for Marina Budhos

 

Marina Budhos will join us at the Center this spring for a KidsRead event to discuss her award-winning Watched, a novel set in Queens about survelliance, immigrants and the issues facing Muslims in America. In this interview, we sat down with Marina to talk with her about writing for teenagers and adults, seeing her book turned into theater, and what she loves to read.

 

"This is how I often work—balancing the part of my brain that is attuned to politics and larger forces with the other side of me that seeks the emotional core of a story." READ MORE

Keeping up the Pace

by Alison Gaylin

 

In this new craft post, Crime Fiction Academy instructor and bestselling author Alison Gaylin offers concrete advice on how to control the tempo of your writing. 

 

"For every one of my books, there’s been a 'cut file,' sometimes hundreds of pages long, of stuff that (much as I may have loved it) wrecked the pace of the novel as a whole. When it comes to killing your darlings, there’s no such thing as too brutal if you’re sacrificing them on the altar of pacing." READ MORE

Shelf Life: Laura Joh Rowland

 

We asked the bestselling author of the Sano Ichiro mystery series, Laura Joh Rowland, to share a snapshot of her bookshelf with us. Here, Rowland talks about a classic graphic novel, how she was inspired both in literature and in fashion by a nonfiction book, and what she's working on next. 

 

"I have one area for work-related books, another for pleasure-reads. That’s my only organizing system. Within each area, chaos reigns. I mined the chaos and curated a selection of books that are special to me." READ NOW

The Book Business: Six Questions for Peter Blackstock 

 

Peter Blackstock, senior editor at Grove Atlantic, talks with our web editor about getting American audiences to read translated books, his advice for emerging writers, and having passion for literature. Blackstock's authors include the Center's First Novel Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, the Academy Award-nominated actor Jesse Eisenberg, and the Booker-longlisted writer Eve Harris.  

 

"I’m interested in works that explore experiences that we don’t often see represented in fiction, and in strong original voices. The Sympathizer is in many ways a deeply American book, but it provides a profoundly new perspective on the Vietnam War, as Vietnamese voices have been largely sidelined in America." read more

Four Surprising Influences on 

We Love You, Charlie Freeman

by Kaitlyn Greenidge

 

We asked First Novel Prize finalist Kaitlyn Greenidge to talk about some of the unusual influences behind her fantastic novel We Love You, Charlie FreemanHere, she discusses how a powerful nonfiction book, a country music song, a holiday movie, and a little corner of Boston all contributed to her debut novel. 

 

"We Love You, Charlie Freeman is as much a frustrated love story between Charlotte and her friend Adia, as it is a novel about a family. This song is the epitome of the word 'bereft' and I imagine if Charlotte knew it existed, she would have worn out her Walkman rewinding it to listen to it over and over again." READ NOW 

Silenced Voices

by Sheila Kohler

 

In this essay, Sheila Kohler discusses the trend of reinterpreting characters from classics into new works of literature. Kohler herself will be diving into the celebrated character of Sonya from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment in a forthcoming novel. 

 

"Why have certain modern authors like John Gardner, Jean Rhys, and Kamel Daoud taken up a preexisting and much admired masterpiece and given voice to one of the characters, antagonists or anti-heroes in the previous text? How did they dare to use a beloved classic and interpret it through new eyes? How much have they accomplished here?" read more



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