Writers & Writing

Author interviews, poetry and storytelling.

Charlie Kaufman's Antkind is a novel only Charlie Kaufman could have written. I'm aware of how vague that sentence is, but I assure you it fits the novel perfectly. Antkind is strange, disjointed, and obsessive. It's also a wildly imaginative narrative in which Kaufman mentions himself several times, discusses his own work, and claims no one has made a "real" movie about New York.

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Dana Canedy has spent her career working with the written word.

"My son calls me 'word nerd,' because I'm obsessed with words and books," she says. "I've been writing since I was 12 years old. And my mother asked me in high school, 'If you don't become a writer, what's your Plan B?' And I said 'There is no Plan B.'"

Plan A worked.

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Updated at 7:01 p.m. ET

After a good deal of legal wrangling, an incendiary book by President Trump's niece is beginning to come to light. A slew of excerpts surfaced publicly Tuesday, ahead of the expected release of Mary Trump's book next week.

"Honest work was never demanded of him, and no matter how badly he failed, he was rewarded in ways that are almost unfathomable. He continues to be protected from his own disasters in the White House," Mary Trump writes in Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.

The spread of the coronavirus has surprising similarities to the spread of fake news, gun violence and even social media fads. What they all have in common is that mathematics plays a role in predicting how things "go viral," whether it's a germ, a rumor or an internet trend.

On Feb. 9, 1950, Joseph McCarthy, a junior senator from Wisconsin, stunned the nation — and stoked the paranoia of the Cold War — when he alleged that there were 205 spies working within the U.S. State Department. It was the beginning of a four-year anti-communist, anti-gay crusade in which McCarthy would charge military leaders, diplomats, teachers and professors with being traitors.

I always remember how a beloved college professor of mine responded when I told him the news that I'd gotten a fellowship to a Ph.D. program in English. "Well," he said, "at least you'll be able to read Finnegans Wake in the unemployment line."

At the time, I laughed along. I, too, believed literature would be enough of a consolation were I ever to find myself jobless and broke. But no more. The passing years and the present economic crisis make Finnegans Wake seem like cold comfort.

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The writer Sameer Pandya describes himself this way.

SAMEER PANDYA: I am a middle-aged Indian American man. I teach at a university.

I think about her when I'm getting into a strange car, or meeting a source alone. I think about her when I'm flying to a new part of the world, when I take an assignment on spec, when a story seems too good to be true. Like most reporters, I would have gotten on the submarine. That is the whole point of this job, this embattled, brittle, irreplaceable profession: the way it offers access to invisible worlds, right down to the bottom of the sea.

It is one of the most intimate and complicated relationships around, and for many women — and yes it's mostly women — an all-important one.

I'm talking about the relationship between a mother and her child's caregiver. And that's the relationship at the heart of author J. Courtney Sullivan's new novel, Friends and Strangers. She says the idea for the book came from her own experiences.

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All right. Let's settle something here. The word irregardless - is it a word or is it not a word? Well, this is a debate that Merriam-Webster is now weighing in on in a tweet saying that it is, in fact, a word. And that has led to a whole lot of reaction online.

Gail Caldwell, the Pulitzer Prize-winning former book critic for the Boston Globe and author of the 2010 Let's Take the Long Way Home, a gorgeous elegy of a special friendship, has become what is known as a serial memoirist.

It's a term that smacks of crime or perhaps narcissism — but the most serious charge against Caldwell might be repetitiveness concerning her boundless love of dogs.

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Ashima Shiraishi, 19, is one of the most talented rock climbers in the world. And she'd like to let you in on a rather unglamorous secret: "Most of climbing, it's you just falling," she says. "Every time you go back at it, you improve slightly."

Shiraishi is the author of a new book called How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion — she says it's about how she approaches all kinds of obstacles.

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July 4th is U.S. Independence Day. But D.L. Hughley, the comedian and author, suggests in his new book that all U.S. holidays "be put on a probationary period to ascertain their relevance and value to All Americans, acknowledging that days off are nice and that mattress sales must occur ..."

His book, co-written with Doug Moe of the Upright Citizens Brigade, is Surrender, White People! Our Unconditional Terms for Peace.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic is a thoroughly enjoyable, thought-provoking novel. I want to discuss it around tea, preferably while in the mountains, preferably somewhere well-lit. I remember placing my bookmark in the book and thinking, I should not have read this before bed.

I was afraid of what I might dream.

In the early 1960s, Rudolfo Anaya was teaching high school during the day and writing at night, struggling to find the voice that would bring his first novel alive.

For more than two decades as an internist at New York City's Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Danielle Ofri has seen her share of medical errors. She warns that they are far more common than many people realize — especially as hospitals treat a rapid influx of COVID-19 patients.

"I don't think we'll ever know what number, in terms of cause of death, is [due to] medical error — but it's not small," she says.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

The settings: A lavish Capri wedding, Italian villas, mansions in the Hamptons and a mega-yacht.

The love interests: George Zao, a Chinese-Australian surfer, and Lucie Tang Churchill of, yes, those Churchills.

The book: Sex and Vanity. And it could only be written by Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, who says he felt like it was time to move on from the decadent, glamorous world of that series.

Horror isn't many readers' first choice during times like these. And while the prospect of wallowing in the murkier end of the emotional spectrum isn't exactly high on the list of anyone's self-care regimen right now, there's a lot to be said for confronting our demons on the printed page as well as in real life. Emma J. Gibbon gets it. The Maine-by-way-of-England author's debut collection of short stories, Dark Blood Comes from the Feet, is an assortment of seventeen scalding, acidic tales that eat away at society's thin veneer of normalcy, convention, and even reality.

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