The first literary piece I ever wrote was a glowing overview of Paula Danziger’s oeuvre. (You may remember her as the young adult writer who gave us such gems as The Cat Ate My Gymsuit.) I was eight years old, it was the weekend, and I had stayed up far past my normal bedtime. My couple of laudatory paragraphs praised Danziger’s style (light and funny); choice of themes (weight, adult relationships, hormones, school, and often the painful inability to belong anywhere); and fully realized characters. That’s part of the point. But what makes an eight-year-old (admittedly socially dysfunctional) kid spend a weekend evening with notebook paper and pen is not the goodness of a book, but rather the desire to get at that ineffable, unexplainable thing that books do to us sometimes. I still remember the feeling of responsibility, a kind of dogged insistence that I somehow puzzle together not only what made all these words hang together as a book, but also what made these books hang together with my life.
Many years and several academic degrees later, I guess that’s still what I’m doing. Below, you’ll find a selection of those attempts.
Writing about books:
Review: Seeing People Off by Jana Beňová. Necessary Fiction, 26 June 2017.
Review: Dance on the Volcano by Marie Vieux-Chauvet. The Quarterly Conversation, 12 December 2016.
Julia Franks Brings Appalachia to the Page: An Interview with the Author of Over the Plain Houses. Electric Literature, 30 June 2016.
Review: Over the Plain Houses by Julia Franks. Necessary Fiction, 13 June 2016.
For my work at Book Riot, please consult my author page.