In Praise of the "Short and Sweet": Top 9 Novellas

In Praise of the "Short and Sweet": Top 9 Novellas

It’s torrid outside. It’s time for a summer fling—make that a literary summer fling. I’m talking about reading something short and sweet: a novella. It’s longer and more satisfying than a short story, without the “commitment” required by a novel.

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In Praise of the Here and Now: Top 12 Present-Tense Novels

In Praise of the Here and Now: Top 12 Present-Tense Novels

“September. It seems these luminous days will never end.” This is how James Salter’s 1967 novel, “A Sport and a Pastime,” begins. The unnamed narrator is describing Paris—in the present tense. It made me pause because countless writing workshops, articles, and panel discussions tell us the same thing: don't write your novel in the present tense.

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Top 12 Jobs in Literature: Characters with the Most Memorable Careers

Top 12 Jobs in Literature: Characters with the Most Memorable Careers

Some of the most compelling characters in literature also have the most interesting careers. Their working lives drive them and their stories. You’ll find plenty of firefighters in novels, but there’s no one quite like Guy Montag, the fireman in Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel, “Fahrenheit 451.”  Montag’s job is at the top of my list of memorable jobs in fiction. 

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Are You a Literary Snob? 6 Signs to Watch For

Are You a Literary Snob? 6 Signs to Watch For

Is reading literature a form of snobbery? Literature has always been associated with the upper class because traditionally only rich people have access to it. They are also more likely to have the education necessary to appreciate literature. But in this day and age of global communication, when you don’t have to be able to read or understand a single word of French to appreciate Proust, is it still snobbish to read “Remembrance of Things Past?”

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Top 10 Places in Literature that Will Trigger Your Wanderlust

Top 10 Places in Literature that Will Trigger Your Wanderlust

One of the reasons I read novels is to escape to another place. Good books transport me to cities and countries I can only dream of visiting. Even when a story is sad or downright depressing, a memorable depiction of a locale can still trigger my wanderlust. And when I do get a chance to see some of those places, I feel twice as lucky.

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The Giving Season: 8 Practical Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

The Giving Season: 8 Practical Gifts for the Writer in Your Life

If you’re looking for a gift for the special writer in your life, you can skip the funny T-shirt or the coffee mug with a motivational quote this time. Most writers need practical things that won’t cost you a dime and earn you endless gratitude.

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