ESSENTIAL READING

On Wandering and Writing:

An Interview with Sybil Baker 

by Iris Mahan

 

In this interview our Development Associate Iris Mahan talks with writer Sybil Baker about her recent nonfiction collection Immigration Essays, which explores the history of Chattanooga against the backdrop of Baker's own familial history and the experiences of her life abroad. Here, they talk about identity, personal and political responsibility, and the contentious idea of ‘home’ in the context of our modern global lives. READ

Five Lessons from a Writing Workshop

by Molly Tolsky

 

As part of our expanding coverage of the literary world outside of NYC, intrepid writer Molly Tolsky reports on becoming a student again at the Tin House Writing Workshop in Portland, Oregon.  

 

"I wanted to take a break from my 9-5 life, and New York in the summer—its stench and humidity, its gasping subway cars. More than anything, I wanted to think of only writing for one week. I wanted to come home motivated, energized, less prone to watching an entire season of Frasier in one day and more loyal to the page." READ

The Book Drop:

From Aaron to Zyzak (and Back)

by Jon Michaud

 

For this month's Book Drop, our head librarian Jon Michaud talks about every book lover's dream: exploring a collection with books dating back 200 years. The Center for Fiction, founded as the Mercantile Library in 1820, holds such gems as a first edition copy of Yeats's The Tower, a letter postmarked 1928, and century-old notes scrawled in the margins of books. Hear about the newly completed catalogue (a decade-long project!) and what has been found in the stacks along the way. READ

The Book That Made Me a Reader: 

Dina Nayeri on Behrangi, Golding, and Ishiguro

 

In this Book That Made Me a Reader, Dina Nayeri, author of the new novel Refuge, reflects on three different times she was inspired as a reader. Nayeri writes about discovering a veiled political allegory as a child in Iran, about reading an unforgettable classic in high school in Oklahoma, and finally being moved by the subtle words of Kazuo Ishiguro and how they changed the direction of her life.

 

"My copy of that book has a dozen notes on every page. Its spine is broken and pages folded. It was the dirtiest, wickedest thing I had ever read and I couldn’t get enough." read more

Author Picks: Marcus Sakey’s Favorite Made-Up Genre


Whether you call this genre speculative fiction, alternate history or in Marcus Sakey's parlance, alt-fic, what these books have in common is that they're all great reads. The author of the new thriller Afterlife has selected six novels that present our recognizable world... but with a twist. From a financial thriller to the latest literary fiction hit, we're sure you'll find something to make you question reality. 

 

"What I love about alt-fic is that it is broad and recognizable. It feels familiar, and yet introduces a difference that changes everything. It’s a genre that allows writers to design compulsively readable thrillers around thoughtful ideas." READ  

Writing America: An Interview with Julia Fierro

 

In Julia Fierro's new novel, The Gypsy Moth Summer, she tells the story of the seemingly-idyllic Avalon Island from an ensemble narration of richly-drawn characters. Our web editor Kristin Henley talked with Fierro about writing her sophomore novel, exploring various viewpoints, and her advice for emerging writers. 

 

"My favorite books to read are those that tell stories in multiple perspectives, and the same goes for TV shows and films. I am fascinated by the way in which a group of people can witness the same events, in the same time and place, and have vastly different interpretations depending on what he or she needs to see." read more

David Swinson’s Long Road from Cop to Crime Novelist

by Jon Michaud

 

In this month’s Book Drop, our librarian Jon Michaud speaks to crime fiction writer David Swinson, who worked as a nightclub promoter, movie producer, and policeman before publishing his first novel. Swinson discusses his unlikely connections to Timothy Leary and G. Gordon Liddy, and considers how screenwriting and police work influenced his Frank Marr trilogy.

 

"Every aspiring writer takes his or her own unique path towards publication. Few writers have taken a route that is as convoluted as that of Swinson. He is the rare writer whose biography would make for excellent fiction." READ MORE

Books Not to Give Dad on Father's Day 

(But Are Great for You!)

 

Okay, okay this may not be the most helpful list for Father’s Day, but you got him a tie anyway (#classicdadgift). From The Vegetarian to The Shining, this list features books we love, but they probably aren't the best gifts for your pop. 

 

"Yanagihara’s career took off with 2015’s A Little Life, but her first novel The People in the Trees is also a mesmerizing read. Unreliable narrator and scientist Norton Perina recalls his travels to a remote island on the hunt for a biological Fountain of Youth." read all of our picks



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The Center for Fiction is the only nonprofit literary organization in the U.S. solely dedicated to celebrating fiction, and we work every day to connect readers and writers. 

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