The author Tayari Jones explains what Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon taught her about the centrality of male protagonists in stories that explore female suffering.
The memoirist Terese Marie Mailhot on how Maggie Nelson’s Bluets taught her to explode the parameters of what a book is supposed to be
The author Martin Puchner on the way advances in paper production helped pave the way for The Tale of Genji
Lapses in food safety have made U.S. prisoners six times more likely to get a foodborne illness than the general population.
The National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee on how the story of Joseph, and the idea that goodness can come from suffering, influences her work
The comedian and writer John Hodgman explains what Stephen King’s 1981 horror novel taught him about risking mistakes in storytelling—and fatherhood.
The author Carmen Maria Machado, a finalist for this year’s National Book Award in Fiction, discusses the brilliance of an eerie passage from Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
What interviewing an author a week for several years has taught me about finishing my novel
The Little Fires Everywhere novelist Celeste Ng explains how the surprising structure of the classic children’s book informs her work.
The Sour Heart author discusses Roberto Bolaño’s “Dance Card,” humanizing minor characters through irreverence, and homing in on history’s footnotes.
The novelist Scott Spencer on the English author’s short story “The Gardener” and what it reveals about transforming shame into art
The novelist Victor LaValle on how dark material hits hardest when it’s balanced out with wonder
A New York Times editor on the coffee-stained list she’s kept for almost three decades
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Elizabeth Strout discusses Louise Glück’s poem “Nostos” and the powerful way literature can harbor recollection.
Hannah Tinti, the author of The Good Thief, explains what she learned about patience and risk from the T.S. Eliot poem "East Coker."
The award-winning author discusses the poetry of Wendell Berry, and the importance of abandoning yourself to mystery.
The memoirist Melissa Febos discusses how an Annie Dillard essay, “Living Like Weasels,” helped refocus her life after overcoming addiction.
Dissecting a line from the author’s story “The Embassy of Cambodia,” Jonathan Lee questions his own myopia as a novelist.
The Lincoln in the Bardo author dissects the Russian writer’s masterful meditations on beauty and sorrow in the short story “Gooseberries,” and explains the importance of questioning your stance while writing.
The veteran author John Rechy discusses the powerful enigma of William Faulkner and the beauty of the unsolved narrative.