On Lit Hub: “Surviving the Ordinary: Why We Need Memoirs of Regular Lives” — “Imagine we all kept a shelf stocked with sharply written, illuminating first-person accounts of these stages of life—not just the eventful beginnings and endings, but the middles, too. We’d have what amounts to an instruction guide for living. We’d know better how to survive the ordinary things that happen to all of us but which are no less daunting for their ordinariness.”
In McSweeney’s: “Literary Pet Names Using Puns Unworthy of Their Namesakes” — Mark Twain said, “No circumstance, however dismal, will ever be considered a sufficient excuse for the admission of that last and saddest evidence of intellectual poverty, the pun.” Challenge accepted.
In The Washington Post: “Look to the Lessons of Theater Kids” — “Perhaps more adults might embrace the lessons of theater kids in our approach to solving the gun violence epidemic. Don’t give up when it’s hard. Know that it has gotten worse, but it can get better. Work together, no matter how small each of our parts. If we do, we’ll have something to be proud of. We’ll have our children’s lives.”
Looking for your next favorite book? There’s a tinyletter for that. Sign up and get a short note with a book review + a fun link, a song, and a picture. Those things, in that order, weekly-ish.
In Garden & Gun: “Expand Your Southern Canon” — If you could pick just six books from the past couple of decades to promote to the great Southern literature hall of fame, what would they be?
In The Paris Review: “The Case for Seasonal Sentimentality” — “It’s soothing to think of wildcats, bugs, even trees loving their parents, caring for their neighbors, and raising their babies. We all want the same things: to survive, to grow, not to be left behind.”
Catch new episodes of A Word on Words, the Emmy-winning literary interview mini-show, on Nashville Public Television or online. Meet guests including Jesmyn Ward, Elizabeth Strout, Adam Haslett, Celeste Ng, Weike Wang, Lisa Ko, Yaa Gyasi, John Hart, Ed Tarkington, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, Adam Silvera, David Arnold, Emma Straub, Ann Patchett, Louise Erdrich, Jane Smiley, Maile Meloy, William Finnegan, Lauren Groff, and more!
In The New York Times Sunday Review: “My Adventures in Accountability” — “As an approval-seeking person, I always want a gold star. But to achieve one thing generally means letting go of another.” A humorous look at what happens when a busy person tries to be accountable to too many goals at once.
In Publishers Weekly: “Think Before You Link” — “Outlets and individuals who publish compelling content exert some control over the cultural conversation. With their choice of links, they drive consumer behavior as well.”
On Brevity: “An Egg-Poaching Pep Talk That Is Definitely Not a Metaphor for a Writer’s Career” — For anyone who has ever experienced creative anxiety.
In The New York Times Sunday Review: “Sing, O Muse, of the Mall of America” — Observe people in the act of searching — whether they get what they search for or not — and you will understand something about them.
On McSweeney’s: “A Usage Guide to Timely Phrases Beginning with ‘As’ and Their Lowercase Abbreviations” — Save yourself a few letters when tweeting or texting the news.
“It’s sort of like having David Sedaris run your online literary magazine on the side.” (<– Greatest compliment ever received.) Interviewed by Ann Patchett about reading, writing, winning an Emmy, and multi-tasking.
In The New York Times: “Wishing Away the Wish List” — The desire to bring back the mystery in giving has a little something to do with the desire to be taken care of, or maybe even to be a child again.
NEW cartoon! Need a pep talk? Follow @wildlifecoach on Instagram to get one from a WildLifeCoach. Giraffes, bats, turtles, pigs… they’re all here to help.
More interviews: George Saunders, Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert, Glennon Doyle Melton, Lee Boudreaux, Chuck Klosterman, Megan Abbott, Brad Watson, Ayobami Adebayo, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, David Sedaris and more.
“This Shop’s Walls Can Talk (In 140 Characters)” There’s enough opportunity for mistaken identity on Twitter to populate a Shakespearean comedy, but it’s still fun. Here’s an essay about creating a bookstore’s voice, from the front page of the Book World section in Washington Post.
Get your copy anywhere you buy books! (For autographed copies, order from indie bookstore Parnassus Books.) And check out the penguins on Buzzfeed, The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, BookPage, The Millions, and more…
Festival season keeps rolling! Coming up: the Southern Festival of Books!