“People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark. I stopped in the middle of the SAT to memorize a poem, because I thought, This is a great work of art and I’ll never see it again.”
The Paris Review
Memories of living with the writer Andrew Lytle late in his life.
“I tell them it’s like driving a car at night: you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
On Taylor Swift’s passive-aggressive lyrics, the life of the writer, and the pain of middle school.Excerpted from Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives.
An interview with the author, who died Monday.
"Really, the ideas and theories we form about others and their motivations are just as much portraits of ourselves as they are descriptions of other people. It’s impossible for them to be anything else, when you think about it."
An interview with the novelist, who died on Saturday.
“There’s only one subject for fiction or poetry or even a joke: how it is. In all the arts, the payoff is always the same: recognition. If it works, you say that’s real, that’s truth, that’s life, that’s the way things are. ‘There it is.’”
Michel Houellebecq on his controversial new novel, Submission, which imagines France electing its first Muslim president.
“'You have to understand: This is not your husband anymore, not a beloved person, but a radioactive object with a strong density of poisoning. You’re not suicidal. Get a hold of yourself.' And I was like someone who’d lost her mind: 'But I love him! I love him!' He’s sleeping, and I’m whispering: 'I love you!' Walking in the hospital courtyard, 'I love you.' Carrying his sanitary tray, 'I love you.'”
Excerpted from Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster.
A public domain story of paranoia by the sci-fi master.
"Binary fission, obviously. Splitting in half and forming two entities. Probably each lower half went to the cafe, it being farther, and the upper halves to the movies. I read on, hands shaking. I had really stumbled onto something here. My mind reeled as I made out this passage."
“My mother kept scrapbooks of everything any of her children did all their lives, and among my scrapbooks are newspapers that I wrote on the typewriter at the age of six, The Hersey Family News, with ads offering my older brothers for various kinds of hard labor at very low wages.”