Category Archives: Fiction

April 09

Reader Empathy

We’re reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist in my World Literature class right now. Included in the brief Q&A at the back of our book is a comment from author Mohsin Hamid about why he writes: “I believe that the core skill of a novelist is empathy: the ability to imagine what someone else might feel.” After […]

March 24

Spring Break Reading

I’ve noted before how excited I get when I have a break from teaching and can tackle the stack of “fun” and/or “mindless” books underneath my coffee table. Spring Break is no exception; I love this week of relief between meetings and grading and comforting stressed-out seniors, and my rest and recovery usually includes some […]

February 19

Endings

I realized last week something that I probably always knew – my favorite part of a book (or poem or story or movie) is the ending.  In two different courses with two wildly different texts in front of me (a collection of contemporary Chinese short stories and a poem from 1633), I gushed in front […]

February 04

“The birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author”: Or, Ron + Hermione 4-Ever

One more reason I love my job: I spent my January sitting around a conference table talking with students about book covers, fan fiction, and the role of the “Author” and “Reader” in contemporary culture. My “Culture of the Book” class is always a favorite to teach – it’s based on my own research interests […]

January 12

(Un)sympathetic Characters

I tell my students that my favorite characters are the messy, complicated ones – the ones who do horrible things and are mean and rude and unlikeable, but still tug at our heart and push us to question our own values and choices.  They are completely unsympathetic…yet at the same time completely sympathetic, too.  Take […]

November 30

What Ann’s Reading Now: My Little House Project

The odd thing about following a passion to graduate school is that at some point you realize your deepest love has become your work. While this seems, and is, ideal, you also begin to lose touch with why it is your passion in the first place. At some point during graduate school, I forgot what […]

November 25

Lettered Ladies Book Club: Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

A few months ago – tanned and relaxed from our respective summers and giddy from the fun of our new blog – the Lettered Ladies decided to embark on an adventure together.  Though the six of us now live in five different states and see each other only rarely, we knew that we could be […]