Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘fiction matters’

Shop Talk |

How to Succeed In Business? Read fiction.

There are lots of reasons to read fiction. But did you know it can also make you a better businessperson? In the Harvard Business Review, Anne Kreamer makes “the business case for reading novels.” She argues: Over the past decade, academic researchers such as Oatley and Raymond Mar from York University have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness. […] In one of Oatley and Mar’s studies in 2006, 94 subjects were asked to guess the emotional state […]


Essays |

Creative Defiance

What do the 2011 Japanese Tsunami, the Cuban Missile Crisis and one family’s personal heartbreak have in common? For Ellen Prentiss Campbell the answer lies in Pearl S. Buck’s 1948 young adult novel The Big Wave and the individual acts of creative defiance that help survivors not only carry on, but value life’s beauty more highly because they know it will not last.


Shop Talk |

One book to rule them all

A recent discussion on the community blog Metafilter asked, “Please tell me one book you think everyone should read and why. Fiction or nonfiction, doesn’t matter. I’m not so interested in hearing about your favorite book or your desert island book, but a book you think everyone would benefit from reading.” In a matter of hours, over a hundred people responded with their recommendations. Many suggested nonfiction—from Richard Dawkins to Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond to The Art of War to the Bible—but surprise! Many others felt that the one book everyone should read would be fiction. Here’s […]


Shop Talk |

A Teaching Writer's Resource: Glimmer Train's Monthly Bulletin

I began submitting to Glimmer Train in 1997, the same year I received my undergrad degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan. That fall, following graduation, my now-wife and I moved to a small cabin on a lake in northern Michigan so that I could be “a writer.” I’d thought I needed to live deliberately, like Thoreau, to nurture my creative spirit. But as we’ve often joked since, the experience was more like The Shining–though with a lot less space. One positive during that experience, however, was that a story of mine received an honorable mention from Glimmer […]


Shop Talk |

Supreme Court justices: secret fiction lovers

We seldom think of judges as writers, but as any lawyer will tell you, written decisions are the bulk of the court’s work. Recently, the Scribes Journal of Legal Writing published interviews with the SCOTUS justices (as they’re known in legal circles), and surprise: many of them appreciate reading, especially fiction, as the basis of good writing. NPR reports: “The only good way to learn about writing is to read good writing,” says Chief Justice John Roberts. That sentiment is echoed by Breyer, who points to Proust, Stendhal and Montesquieu as his inspirations. Justice Anthony Kennedy loves Hemingway, Shakespeare, Solzhenitsyn, […]


Shop Talk |

Lit doing good

It might be made up, but fiction can still do a lot of very practical good in the world Here are three recent examples: 1. Tornado relief: In the wake of the tornadoes that devastated Alabama in April, author Shiloh Walker pledged to make a donation of $1 to United Way for every comment left on her blog post. (Via.) 2. Japan earthquake relief: In collaboration with Japanese editor Motoyuki Shibata, A Public Space has launched Monkey Business: New Voices from Japan, an annual English-language version of Shibata’s Japanese journal Monkey Business. To aid relief efforts for the recent earthquake […]


Interviews |

Mishpocha and Beyond: An Interview with Erika Dreifus

In conversation with Anne Stameshkin, debut author Erika Dreifus shares true stories that inspired her collection, Quiet Americans; wonders when it’s kosher for authors to write characters from backgrounds they don’t share; explores how reviewing books makes us better fiction writers; and recommends favorite novels and collections by 21st-century Jewish authors.


Interviews |

Woman to Woman: An Interview with Mary Gaitskill

Emily McLaughlin converses and laughs with author Mary Gaitskill, a fellow University of Michigan alum, on her visit to Ann Arbor. Gaitskill opens up about writing as a woman in 2011, her take on her own characters, writing sex, publishing her first stories, and lasting fifty years.




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