Category Archives: Literature

10 Ways to Celebrate Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month

By Sarah Maugaotega

Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month was first celebrated in May of 1990. Since then, the achievements and contributions by these communities have been commemorated each year. An important part of any culture are the stories, legends, and tales that have been carried from generation to generation, which stand as the cornerstone of these cultures and reflect the different histories that have shaped the communities into what they are today. Below is a list of 10 books to read this month (or any month), to learn the history and stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders, and celebrate the authors that write them. Continue reading

Why America Needs A Series of Unfortunate Events Now More than Ever

By AnnaLiese Burich

In today’s political climate, it seems inevitable that the unfortunate can — and will — happen: every day, some fresh horror makes headlines. Trump, in his short time in office, has threatened public school systems, the Affordable Care Act, our already tenuous relationships with other countries. And, worst of all, there is nothing that us innocent civilians can do about it — no matter how unfair it seems. Continue reading

Eerie Changes in Emotional Timbre: Adam Morris on Translating João Gilberto Noll

By Nathan Scott McNamara

Brazilian writer João Gilberto Noll’s Atlantic Hotel is a surreal journey — by bus, foot, and wheelchair — around southern Brazil. The pages fly past in this short novel; the narrator travels from a murder scene in a hotel, to the beach, to a brothel, and through an apocalyptic storm, before waking up to the amputation of his own leg. And that’s just in the first half of this 140-page book. Continue reading

Stories Like a Bullet: An Interview with Osama Alomar

By Sam Jaffe Goldstein                                                         

Who among us is not spending most of her time trying to understand the complexities of the times? How can we even begin to grapple with it all? Is comprehension even possible? Osama Alomar’s very short stories (or in Arabic, “al-qisa al-qasira jiddan”) do not offer answers. What they do provide is a necessary reminder of the importance of protecting the human spirit — a worthy touchstone, when confronting darkness. Continue reading

Female Trouble

By Tausif Noor

Here is an anecdote that sounds like a disclaimer: a year ago, I went out with a writer, who asked on our first date who I’d been reading. I mentioned Ottessa Moshfegh and Mary Gaitskill. His eyes widened. “Veronica is my favorite novel. I once met Mary at a writing retreat. She is unflinching.” I liken the experience to a reverse Bechdel Test of sorts: is it possible for two men discussing Gaitskill to refer to her in terms that don’t indicate their speakers’ own trepidation? Continue reading

Why Does a Historian Write a Memoir?: On Writing Adventures of a Postmodern Historian

By Robert A. Rosenstone

I can’t answer the title question for the other 450 scholars in my profession — the majority in recent decades — who have felt the need to write essays or books about their own lives and careers. For me the process was a long struggle to understand, through the dark and shifting screen of memory, aided by documents and publications, if and how my works of history, written over the last half century, have both reflected and inflected the larger culture. My goal in writing a memoir was not, however, simply to obtain a deeper sense of self-knowledge, but also to share with others the hard-won insights I have earned by researching, thinking, and writing about the past. Continue reading

Youth, Creativity, and Other Women: An Interview with Nicola Maye Goldberg

By Sophie Browner

Nicola Maye Goldberg’s new book, Other Women, is a delicate, feminine bildungsroman that follows a young woman from New York City to Berlin and back again. The protagonist — nameless, sensitive, brilliant — wanders in a ghostly fashion through the city streets, reflecting on her life and the decisions she has made. Other Women is a brilliant little novel (little in physicality and length at 164 pages), brimming with obsession, vulnerability, and heartbreak. It is at once dark and bright — morbid without being turgid, specific without being pretentious. Continue reading

The Incendiary Impact of Elif Batuman’s The Idiot

By Louise McCune

A factory sorts its oil drums. Behind door number one is a room of full barrels, and behind door two sits a stash of empty ones. Workers at the factory are wary around the full ones, taking precaution to avoid combustion, when in fact it is the other set that deserve their heightened vigilance. Those empty drums are in fact not empty at all. Once their liquid is used up, they become full of flammable vapors and are therefore even more volatile than their unused counterparts. Their menace is obscured by their moniker — “empty” — with disastrous consequence; deeming the empty drums empty of threat, workers are disarmed in their presence. They take breaks. They light cigarettes. They start a fire. Continue reading