A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

Content Warning: This episode contains discussions of self-harm, violence, abuse, and suicide. As a reader who occasionally enjoys judging books by their covers, I remember the curiosity I felt looking at Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (2015) for the first time. Our 35th reader was also transfixed by the cover subject’s expression of both pleasure…

Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak – Edited by Mark Falkoff

What kind of spring is this, / Where there are no flowers and / The air is filled with a miserable smell? – Shaikh Abdurraheem Muslim Dost The above poem was etched into a styrofoam cup and passed between detainees in the infamous Guantánamo Bay detention camp. It is included alongside twenty-one other poems in…

This One Summer – Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

When summer finally arrives in Canada, people walk around cities and towns in a daze. It’s as if we’ve all woken up on another planet and are trying to remember long-forgotten survival skills. Once the shock wears off, people flood onto patios and into parks to pay homage to the sun and to melt the…

Middlemarch – George Eliot

Ah, Victorian fiction; lengthy narratives, plots that may involve the return of at least one character from the dead, and the frequent determination of a woman’s character based on her gaze/finger slenderness. I admire Victorian authors for their commitment to realism and their vital reflections upon the complexity of human nature amid sociocultural change. When…

The Blazing World – Siri Hunstvedt

This fourteenth episode features an in-depth conversation about Siri Hunstvedt’s expansive and confrontational novel The Blazing World (2014). I sat down with our reader to discuss Hustvedt’s tragic heroine, Harriet Burden, and her strategic exposure of gender inequality within the art world. The novel is provocative, insightful, and draws the reader toward an understanding of…