Literary Hub6 min read
Meet the Bay Area Butterflies Fighting For Survival
When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area in college, I was oblivious to the region’s status as a global epicenter for rare butterflies. The Mission Blue (Icaricia icarioides missionensis), the San Bruno Elfin (Callophrys mossii bayensis), and the C
Literary Hub2 min read
How Many Copies Did Famous Books Sell in the First Year?
Book publishing can be a tricky—and fickle—thing. Some of the classics we know and love today were instant bestsellers when they were originally published—and some were huge flops. While the numbers a book puts up during its first year in the world a
Literary Hub5 min readPsychology
The Many Ways We Create the ‘Other’
Since most of us reach old age, you might think old people would engender fewer “Not me” and “Not my problem” reactions than many categories defining our social identities. After all, old age is not like gender or race. For the most part, people rema
Literary Hub6 min read
Catherine Lacey on the Searching Spirit Behind Lore Segal’s Long Career
Lore Segal was walking in her Upper West Side neighborhood when she realized a sentence she’d written fifty years prior had contained the wrong word. The sentence had described a woman as having a “useless bosom,” but only then, five decades later, h
Literary Hub8 min read
The Poetic Pleasures and Pains We Can Only Express in Dutch
i. My mother’s vowels were as clear as drinking water. She expected ours to sound the same. She was a teacher, and the child of two teachers; before them, there was a madwoman, a sea captain, a divorcée, a drunk. And then blacksmiths, generations of
Literary Hub7 min read
Massoud Hayoun on What It Means to Identify as Both Jewish and Arab
There are many potential origin stories for the Jewish Arab—a tiny fraction of humanity at the nexus of so much that’s wrong with the world. The recollection of my grandparents’ lives is itself an origin story, but before we embark on that, I’ll conv
Literary Hub6 min read
The Complex Queer Literary History of Fire Island
Even its name feels literary: an evocation, a burning bush. As an infamous summer outpost for queer New Yorkers, located some 60 miles away from the city off Long Island’s southern shore, Fire Island is a landscape filled with stories and secrets. Th
Literary Hub6 min read
On America’s Wild West of Dinosaur Fossil Hunting
William Harlow Reed was walking home from a successful antelope hunt during the summer of 1877 when he stumbled across several large fossil bones weathering out of a hillside near Como Station in southeastern Wyoming. At the time, Reed was employed a
Literary Hub7 min read
On Toxic Corporate Culture in Contemporary Fiction
It was 1994 and I was 23 years old, working at Goldman Sachs and attending yet another one of those boring, fancy group business dinners, when a British man named Ashley, who was our computer support person, looked across the table at me and said, “E
Literary Hub8 min read
How a Single Violent Crime Tells the Story of U.S.-Japan Relations in Okinawa
On the evening of April 28th, 2016, Rina Shimabukuro put on her red sneakers and black parka to go out for a walk. Twenty years old, Rina was an office worker with long, dark hair and girlish bangs. She stood about five feet tall, and when she smiled
Literary Hub7 min read
Annie Proulx on One of Her Favorite Short Stories
Not long ago I read a collection of essays by contemporary British writers, edited by Antonia Fraser, The Pleasure of Reading (1992). The childhood experiences that brought these writers to books were remarkably similar: illness with long weeks abed,
Literary Hub5 min read
Instructions For Survival In A Country Where 20 Percent Of The People Want You To Leave
This essay originally appeared in Dagens Nyheter following the most recent Swedish elections. 1. Wake up Monday morning and tell yourself that the election result was a pleasant surprise. Celebrate that the nationalists didn’t get 100% of the vote. O
Literary Hub3 min read
Two Poems by Albert Goldbarth
Rumi, Hawking What if our lives are an alien planet’s computer game? Or what if we’re the dreams they have in another dimension? Dana’s been doing a drug that has her asking the questions a prophet would ask. Or a six-year-old. All night, all night.
Literary Hub10 min read
We’re Doomed. Now What? Roy Scranton on Climate Change
Is there a better introduction to writer and climate change philosopher Roy Scranton than to slowly read aloud the titles he’s published to date? First, his breakout eco-manifesto from 2015: Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End
Literary Hub8 min read
Viet Thanh Nguyen on What David Wong Louie Meant to Him at 20
David Wong Louie’s first book, Pangs of Love: Stories, was published in 1991. Books by Asian American authors are now released at least monthly, but back then, the emergence of a new Asian American author was a significant event. Twenty-seven years l
Literary Hub8 min read
The Grand Cultural Influence of Octavia Butler
Tomorrow, June 22, would have been legendary SF novelist and short story writer Octavia Butler’s 72nd birthday. She died in 2006—much too young, at only 58—already a certified genius who had a profound impact on many readers and writers across the wo
Literary Hub5 min read
On the Tricky Business of Creating a National Anthology: Irish Edition
“I feel like a real Irish cailín,” tweeted the Chinese-born writer Yan Ge. A copy of Being Various: New Irish Short Stories had just arrived in the post and she’d seen that her story, “How I fell in love with the well-documented life of Alexander Whe
Literary Hub20 min read
On John Wayne, Cancel Culture, and the Art of Problematic Artists
I. The Poetics of Hatred A man and his wife name their son John Wayne. At the baby shower the wife’s best friend pulls her aside: “Maybe it’s not my place to say it, but I just can’t believe you’d name your boy after a racist, a misogynist, a homopho
Literary Hub10 min read
The Comic Tragedy Of A Narrator With No Sense Of Self
The One-Liner It’s hard to imagine a book that clashes comedy and tragedy quite so blatantly as Berg, Ann Quin’s 1964 reimagining of the Oedipal myth (read an excerpt here.) Rare enough is a book that begins by stating its intention— A man named Berg
Literary Hub3 min readTech
Gary Shapiro, Tech Optimist, Talks to a Tech Pessimist
There are few more optimistic thinkers about our 21st century technological future than the President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, Gary Shapiro. Gary is the author of the New York Times best-selling Ninja Innovation as well as this
Literary Hub4 min read
Kristen Arnett on How She Got Her Start as a Librarian
Greetings from Florida! Sunshine state native Kristen Arnett shares her personal stories about growing up in Orlando, being a queer writer, her family dynamics and . . . the art of taxidermy. Mostly Dead Things has been described as “Arnett’s vision
Literary Hub1 min read
50 of the Best One-Star Reviews of The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray first appeared on June 20th, 1890, in the July issue of Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, to major controversy and no small amount of hostility. According to Nicholas Frankel, editor of an annotated edition of th
Literary Hub2 min read
Mona Awad on Horrifying Cuteness and MFA Groupthink
This week on The Maris Review, Maris is joined by Mona Awad, author of Bunny.  On the Bunny aesthetic Maris Kreizman: The descriptions of the girls from the book are so incredible. The aesthetic is so specific. I wrote down while reading Bunny, “Alic
Literary Hub3 min read
‘Revolutionary Kiss,’ A Poem by Tina Chang
I had never created man before so I invented my son first as a dream body. In order to create the dream body I must first believe in the force of opposites, a terrible tension of what has existed and the struggle yet to come. And it is true, that I h
Literary Hub9 min read
How an Asteroid Could Destroy the World Before Impact
It’s May 2014, just over a year after an asteroid shook Chelyabinsk, and the folks at the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have a little problem. There’s another one on the way. It seems that the boys over at NASA have spotted this 300
Literary Hub12 min read
Why Does Losing a Pet Hurt So Much?
“Where there is grief, there was love.” –Barbara J. King, How Animals Grieve, 2014 If by some chance you should ever find yourself driving near the village of Loxhill in the southeast of England, you may well start to suspect that you are traveling t
Literary Hub9 min read
The Poet and the Monk: An Anne Sexton Love Story
“You are awfully handsome to be a monk,” she started one letter. “You have amazing eyes.” It was two days before Valentine’s Day, 1962. Anne Sexton would keep the monk’s photograph over her desk. Her unlikely muse, this monk—there whenever she wrote
Literary Hub4 min read
Previewing the First Ever LGBTQ+ Rare Books Auction
“Queer history has long remained invisible,” writes Eric Marcus in the preface to a catalog of rare LGBTQ+ books and artwork headed to auction in New York on June 20. Little by little in the 50 years since Stonewall, that has changed, and in a bid fo
Literary Hub2 min read
Robert Macfarlane: “I Wanted The Reader To Undertake A Descent Into The Darkness.”
In this episode of A Phone Call With Paul Paul Holdengraber speaks with Robert Macfarlane about his new book, Underland, the pleasures and necessities of walking, the threshold experience of the underworld, and the longing for the language of trees.
Literary Hub16 min readSociety
The Writer Antonia Pont vs. Envy
“And he who knows how to censure more eloquently and cunningly the weakness of the human Mind is held to be Godly.” –Baruch Spinoza, The Ethics Don’t let that quote up there scare you. My interest in this essay is my interest in, my curiosity about,
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