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Nell Zink’s Novel Journey


“There are a lot of ways to stay safe as a writer: by not writing, by writing to no one, by writing to a single admirer, by challenging the judgment of those with the power to judge, by not putting much effort into your work. ‘It’s hard,’ Zink writes in ‘The Wallcreeper,’ ‘trying to defend your territory and advertise your presence and keep out of predators’ line of sight.'”

Every word of this Kathryn Schulz profile of novelist Nell Zink is perfect. It helps that Zink’s life story and book plots are brimming with zaniness and improbability. This was such a joy to read.

Source: Bricklayer, Bird-Watcher, Literary Sensation

The Best American Travel Writing 2014

The Best American Travel Writing 2014

The Best American Travel Writing, which highlights the best travel stories from the previous full year, arrives in bookstores and on tablets this week. The 2014 edition is edited by Paul Theroux, who has selected some outstanding reads from a variety of print and online publications. Here are few that you can read online right now:

Some honorable mentions include Thanksgiving in Mongolia, Ariel Levy’s devastating personal essay; The Fallout by Frank Bures; A Sort of Happy Ending by David Farley (yay, Farley!); Go Your Own Way by Douglas Mack (yay, Doug!); and How Hipsters Ruined Paris by Thomas Chatteron Williams.

The Best American Travel Writing 2014 is available from Amazon in print and on Kindle and as an Apple iBook. You can also buy directly from the publisher.

*These are the print magazine titles of these articles. The online titles are slightly different.

The Best American Travel Writing 2012

BATW 2012

The Best American Travel Writing 2012 is out.

I started writing about travel just a few years shy of the debut, 12 years ago, of this annual series of the best travel stories from American publications. For most of the last dozen years, I have treated myself to the BATW, usually at Christmas time. It’s a professional expense, yes. But the book also gives me insight into the sort of travel writing readers are responding to, which places are being written about, what their angles are, and which publications are still promoting and producing quality travel tales. Browsing the table of contents as well as the “Notable Travel Writing” in the back of the book provides a snapshot of where the best writing is being done and who is doing it.

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Worth Your Time: Abandoned Cuban Ballet School, Erotic Books, Turkey’s Golden Age of Spying



Plan for Cuban Ballet School a Dance of Art, Politics — “…the school’s original structures are intact, a dazzling swirl of red brick shapes and huge domelike Catalonian vaults set against the lush green jungle. The winding corridors, stairways and sightlines come together in a cascade of twists and graceful curves, like music turned to stone.”

Ten Erotic Books Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey — “The following ten erotic books are alternatives we at Time Out New York find riskier, sexier and simply better written than E.L. James’s feminist-baiting juvenilia.” Includes Nicholson Baker’s Vox and How a Person Should Be by Sheila Heti. Great round-up.

Istanbul: A City of Spies: In Fact and Fiction — “Turkey’s golden age of espionage was World War II, a period that continues to serves as a muse for writers of historical thrillers.”

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My links for June 10th through June 22nd

These are my links for June 10th through June 22nd. (This is a longer list than usual – apologize for the delay!)

My links for June 6th through June 10th

These are my links for June 6th through June 10th:

My links for June 4th through June 6th

These are my links for June 4th through June 6th: