Edna: Of Mice and Men

For Banned Books Week, we've asked our writers to pick a frequently challenged book and tell us how that book has affected them. Today, Edna Truong writes about John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. I was flicking through the list of challenged books and my eyes caught on this particular title. It brought back memories, … Continue reading Edna: Of Mice and Men

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Ruth: A Wrinkle in Time

For Banned Books Week, we've asked our writers to pick a frequently challenged book and tell us how that book has affected them. Today, Ruth Zielinski Hansen writes about Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Possibly no book has influenced my personal philosophy as much as Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and its sequel, … Continue reading Ruth: A Wrinkle in Time

Neil: Groupthink

For Banned Books Week, we've asked our writers to pick a frequently challenged book and tell us how that book has affected them. Today, Neil writes a post inspired by George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Big Brother has arrived, in a way. But we don't fear him. Instead, we mock him, making him seem harmless. Even … Continue reading Neil: Groupthink

Kathleen: To Kill a Mockingbird

For Banned Books Week, we've asked our writers to pick a frequently challenged book and tell us how that book has affected them. Today, Kathleen writes about Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. I was surprised to find this book on the list of banned books. I was surprised not least of all because my … Continue reading Kathleen: To Kill a Mockingbird

Leanne: The Fear of Monsters

My parents never took a keen interest in what I was reading. I think that to them, the fact that I was reading novels was good enough. So it was that I had a relatively free hand when it came to reading material, and a lot of the time, it ended up being whatever was … Continue reading Leanne: The Fear of Monsters

The Beautiful Trap of Belzhar

Meg Wolitzer is revealing herself to be a terrifically nimble, as well as prolific author. Since 2011 she’s published The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman, an acclaimed middle-grade novel, and The Uncoupling and The Interestings, both for adults, following a career that’s spanned over thirty years so far. Forthcoming in September 2014 is Belzhar, Wolitzer’s foray … Continue reading The Beautiful Trap of Belzhar

The People’s MFA (“Werewolves in Their Youth” Edition)

I have deep respect for people who have completed a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Devoting two years of full-time study to producing acres of drafts and absorbing what can be painful critique, knowing all the while that there will be no “Help Wanted: MFA-Accredited Novelist” ad to answer at its conclusion, is … Continue reading The People’s MFA (“Werewolves in Their Youth” Edition)

Chewing Gum and Hearty Meals

These stories are like a rich, hearty meal to a famished person in the middle of a freezing winter. They nourish in so many ways, and shift your thinking--if not of the world, then at least of people and why they act as they do.

Deconstructed: The Lies of Locke Lamora

If ever you wanted to look at a good novel hook, here’s one for you. This is part of the prologue for "The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch. Here’s what I think makes it work so well.

Popping the Hood

I began reading when I was four years old and haven’t stopped since. Immersive reading was my drug through an unhappy childhood and adolescence, with all the desperate need and avoidance of unpleasant reality that addiction entails. Books damaged my eyes rather than my liver, but they gave far more than they took. I lived … Continue reading Popping the Hood