Pollyanna Problems: On Katharine Butler Hathaway’s The Little Locksmith and the Pitfalls of Excessive Optimism by Ashley P. Taylor I. Two Pollyannas To be “a Pollyanna” is a complicated thing. According to Merriam-Webster, a Pollyanna is “a person characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything.” The original Pollyanna, the protagonist in Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 novel of that name, suffers endless bad luck but copes by playing “the glad game,” which consists of finding reasons […]
In our weekend reading: revisiting work by José Saramango, magazine parodies, punk history, and much more.
Temporary Steps by Ashley P. Taylor The steps leading up to our columned porch were too steep, my mom said. Elderly guests might have trouble climbing them, could fall descending them. And they were ugly: planks painted the green of the house’s porch and roof. The handrail began flush with the first step so that to grab it, you had to lean out over the stairs you were trying not to fall down. Plus, the porch steps were always supposed […]
In our afternoon reading: Ben Lerner on Gerald Murnane, interviews with Janice Lee and Diamanda Galás, and more.
Morning Bites: Katie Kitamura’s Latest, PEN/Faulkner Finalists, Mohsin Hamid, National Book Awards Judges, and More
In our morning reading: thoughts on books by Katie Kitamura and Mohsin Hamid, the PEN/Faulkner Award finalists, and more.
Morning Bites: Paul Beatty Wins the Booker, Jeff VanderMeer, Moor Mother Interviewed, Adam Fitzgerald, and More
In our morning reading: Paul Beatty’s Man Booker Prize win, an excerpt from Jeff VanderMeer’s next novel, thoughts on Adam Fitzgerald’s new book, and more.
Middles by Ashley P. Taylor “It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.” – Joan Didion I’m beginning to see the ends of things. I don’t mean the end of youth, the wrinkling, thickening, graying. The endings I’m talking about are more insidious: things you put on hold that might, in fact, be over; people you hope to reconcile with who might actually be lost; doors you view as open that, gaping or […]