Elanor McInerney • 03/21/12
Miranda Popkey • 03/21/12

“I guess I felt—and now feel—as though I was 19 when I wrote it,” Renata Adler said of her first novel Speedboat. “And maybe still am. And by Pitch Dark, I was maybe 19-and-a-half.”

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Sady Doyle • 02/27/12

It’s easy to read the buddhist as a feminist text. It’s also easy to read it as a book about dissolving the boundaries between high and low art, or a performance piece about obsession, or a book about the abuse of spiritual authority. It’s even possible to read it as simply a book about abuse and its aftermath.

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Rachel Monroe • 02/23/12

I read the buddhist in one big thirsty gulp, lying on my bunk in the hostel during the hottest part of the day. I was avoiding talking to people – to the surfer from Alabama, to the irritating Russians. When I finished, it was just after 4 PM and the surfers were readying themselves for the next high tide.

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Emily Gould • 02/22/12

Dodie Bellamy’s book the buddhist originated as a series of posts on Dodie’s blog, belladodie, in which she described her life in the aftermath of a protracted breakup with a Buddhist teacher. Dodie has used many writing forms over the course of her career, from poetry to academic writing, often focusing on the sometimes-blurry line between what’s considered “memoir” and what’s considered “fiction,” but she did not become a blogger until relatively recently.  Now she’s making up for lost time.

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Lillian Warner • 02/16/12

Last Sunday at the Like A Boss panel, Emily asked Will Schwalbe, Alexander Chee, Heidi Julavits, and Doree Shafrir to share their insights on mentoring. The panelists offered stories about being mentors, having mentors, and how those experiences have affected them. No one tried to give mentoring a strict definition.

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Emily Cooke • 02/11/12

In grad school, getting an MFA in writing, I cried in the office of every workshop professor I had but one. In spite of the sensitivity with which as a rule these people responded, the episodes filled me with shame. Post-cry, I assiduously avoided my teachers.

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Minna Proctor • 02/09/12

I was introduced to the idea of Monica Sarsini this way: My college boyfriend— from Florence, Italy—said, “You have to meet my mother’s friend. She’s a writer. She’s strange and beautiful.

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Dodie Bellamy • 02/07/12

‘Then she waited, with parted lips and a saucy challenge in her eyes, to see how her presence – the drama of being her – was registering. In the way of such chicks, she seemed convinced of the originality of her provocation. Katz had encountered, practically verbatim, the same provocation a hundred times before, which put him in the ridiculous position now of feeling bad for being unable to pretend to be provoked: of pitying Lucy’s doughty little ego, its flotation on a sea of aging-female insecurity.’

Due to all the stagy point of view switches the novel apparently employs, I’d thought of assigning it to students, but after reading the above passage I was like, not in 100 fucking years.  The cruelty and hubris of Franzen’s depiction of the woman—a reviewer points out that Katz is the character who seems closest to Franzen himself—is astonishing.  Middle aged women are such easy prey, like they’re supposed to walk around with eyes averted, hanging their heads in shame at their wreckage.

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Arianna Stern • 02/03/12

“I’ve never actually applied for a traditional job,” my thesis advisor told me over lunch, explaining that she’d gone straight from undergrad to a PhD program. We were out at a vegetarian restaurant, celebrating my completed thesis essay, and the tables that surrounded us were mostly empty. Sparsely-populated storefronts were an ongoing theme of college life: On weekday afternoons, when people like us had the freedom to go out, most people were on the 9-to-5 grind.

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