"She mentioned Ernest Hemingway more than once while saying Paul would benefit, as a writer, from the interesting experience. Paul said he would benefit from being in America, where he could speak the language and maintain friendships and “do things,” he said in Mandarin, visualizing himself on his back, on his yoga mat, with his MacBook on the inclined surface of his thighs, formed by bending his knees, looking at the internet."
— Taipei by Tao Lin comes out next week.
"It’s impossible to overstate how much reviewers hated MacLane and how deeply they held her in contempt, citing her “vulgarity” and calling her book “a revelation of self which is not interesting or sympathetic.” Their insistence on calling her “boring” quickly begins to seem absurd: if she was so boring, why were they so obsessed? Critics also insisted that she was doing the world a disservice by getting attention that they (disingenuously) declared ought to be granted to presumably worthier writers: “Think of the hundreds of poor lonesome girls working away at the making of literature who cannot get their literature printed and published.” When asked to explain MacLane’s popularity, they mostly just threw up their hands in befuddlement: “People go wild over young girls writing slush about themselves,” the author of a MacLane parody “explained” in 1902."
— Intrigued? Next Wednesday, Kara Jesella and Normandy Sherwood and I discuss Mary MacLane at BookCourt. Come!
"In a lot of contemporary literature, and in memoir especially, there’s this mandate for redemption at the end. People want a happy ending. If it can’t be happy they at least want to know that the narrator has learned from whatever mistakes she just spent hundreds of pages chronicling and is, by the end of the book, ready to be a better person. I certainly understand the desire for that but, unfortunately, that’s not the way life works. Some mistakes we never learn from. A great portion of our lives are spent engaging in the same unproductive patterns over and over again."
— Meghan Daum via Emily Books