The Literary Arts team is made up of enthusiastic readers (and writers!) just like you. Now, more than ever perhaps, we turn to books for comfort, inspiration, and joy. Here are a few recent staff picks that we love. We hope you will enjoy them as well.
Later: My Life at the End of the World
by Paul Lisicky
I loved Lisicky’s previous memoir, The Narrow Door and I’m loving Later too. His voice as a writer has a wonderful mix of thoughtfulness and vulnerability. Later takes place in Provincetown, Mass, in the early 90’s., when Lisicky was a fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. It explores the AIDS crisis, making art, love, and how we create our identities from the families we are born into and the families we create when we leave home.
Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You
by Peter Cameron
Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You is a thoughtful and beautifully written young adult novel akin to The Outsiders or The Catcher in the Rye. Cameron’s main character is witty, pessimistic, and everything the classic teen can identify with as they try to find their way in the world. I originally picked up this book in high school and it got me through a lot of tough times and I often find myself returning to it at times when I’m feeling down or lost. It’s become a beacon of light that reminds me how to be in an ever changing, challenging, and sometimes frightening world. It’s a fun ride, a deep story, and a nice reminder that whatever hardship you’re going through will be worth it. After all, someday that pain will be useful to you.
James Baldwin interview in The Paris Review: The Art of Fiction, Spring 1984
interviewed by Jordan Elgrably
Right now, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to write anything other than pessimistic, spiraling journal entries. Given the state of the world, fiction seems selfish. But this James Baldwin interview (which Literary Arts instructor Margaret Malone recently shared with me) is packed with proof that writing creatively—in the easy times and, especially, in the hardest—is synonymous with survival. One of my favorite takeaways: “Once you realize you can do something, it would be difficult to live with yourself if you didn’t do it.”
Read the interview on The Paris Review website!
When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.James Baldwin