Lynx/Links

Lynx-by-Raymondbarlow
There’s a lynx, and here are some links:

Trouble sleeping? The Paris Review is here to help, with Sleep Aids, literature that’s so dry it will help you nod off. This week’s installment: Cold Storage, Heating and Ventilation on Board Ship.

Weeks after reading this beautiful piece, I’m still thinking about it. Author Chimamanda Adichie writes for The Atlantic about his Nigerian Catholic upbringing, and how Pope Francis has changed his view of the church.

[G]old pendants at women’s throats, their headscarves flared out like the wings of giant butterflies; men’s caftans crisply starched; children in frilly socks and uncomfortable clothes. Mass was as much social as spiritual—an occasion to greet and gossip, to see and be seen, and to leave consoled. I loved watching the priests sweep past, all certainty and majestic robes, behind the sober Mass-servers holding candles. The choir sang in Igbo and English, each song a little plot of joy. I loved the smoky smells, the standing and sitting and kneeling, the shiny metal chalice raised high in air charged with magic and ringing bells. The words of the liturgy were poetry.

Adichie’s article reminded me of this Dan Savage episode of This American Life, when he talks about going back to church to feel closer to his mother, despite his own atheism.

Why we are burning out in the arts speaks as much to my soul as a dancer as a writer. “[P]eople tend to live quite precariously in the arts and can burn out”–yep. The hardest thing about being a writer is staying hungry. And not the kind that’s about eating enough. Staying hungry enough for the next job, while working on something that’s not going to pay a lot.

My friend, Dorothy Rice, writes about finding her genre.

English novelist and critic Virginia Woolf (1882 - 1941), 1902. (Photo by George C. Beresford/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

How do author photos change the way we read? Dustin Illingsworth asks the question at Lit Hub.

This piece by George Saunders for The New Yorker about his writing teachers is just fabulous. Worth a read for anyone who has ever had a gifted teacher in his or her life.

Why do we love our writing teachers so much? Why, years later, do we think of them with such gratitude? I think it’s because they come along when we need them most, when we are young and vulnerable and are tentatively approaching this craft that our culture doesn’t have much respect for, but which we are beginning to love. They have so much power. They could mock us, disregard us, use us to prop themselves up. But our teachers, if they are good, instead do something almost holy, which we never forget: they take us seriously. They accept us as new members of the guild. They tolerate the under-wonderful stories we write, the dopy things we say, our shaky-legged aesthetic theories, our posturing, because they have been there themselves.

I’m trying not to think about lunchmeat giving people cancer. But in the meantime, here’s a good article about the fast food industry in America, and how that’s changing.

People are reading less in general, but ladies are over-compensating.

Finally, two wonderful op-eds from The New York Times: Lady Gaga and The Life of Passion, and Lecture Me, Really.

Monday Links

Morning, world!

Looks like today the literary scene is back in business. Or at least, my little corner of the scene in Smalltown, USA. I have a review up this morning in the January issue of Bookslut:

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Characters in Thomas Pierce’s new collection of short stories, Hall of Small Mammals, are observers. Pierce juxtaposes science and faith, and his stories show how they share a desire to explain and label the world. Seeing truth is central to his characters’ understanding of life around them — obliteration of fear, faith in humanity (or man’s ability to thrive), and the order of the animal kingdom are ideas that bleed from one story to the next. Pierce’s characters live in the overlap of a science-faith Venn diagram.

Click here to read the rest.

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It’s also a good morning for me because The Millions’ Great 2015 Book Preview is up. I get asked all the time how I choose books to review. This is how.

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And while you’re poking around the interwebs, take a gander at this interview with one of my favorite authors, Megan Mayhew Bergman. Her book, Almost Famous Women, is out tomorrow.

I am happy in the New Year.