paper trail

Kiley Reid on literary caregivers; Jessi Jezewska Stevens reconsiders Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping

Kiley Reid. Photo: David Goddard

At Literary Hub, Such a Fun Age author Kiley Reid reflects on literary caregivers. “The literary nanny must be drawn akin to a ghost,” she writes. “The house must feel different in their presence, even if part of their role is to go unseen. They must leave things a bit differently than the family remembers. And a transaction must take place, one that far too often goes beyond a simple exchange of goods, seldom at market price. From teachers to house maids to babysitters to au pairs, the child caregiver is an essential literary character as they give depth, warmth, and sometimes fear to the question, ‘Who, exactly, is watching the children?’”

For the Paris Review, Jessi Jezewska Stevens reconsiders Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. “Today, while I still admire Housekeeping, I find its impulse toward the Christian afterlife makes me uneasy—unreasonably uneasy,” she writes. “I am uncomfortable about Housekeeping’s coziness with the afterlife because I cannot separate it from the echoes of those who would confuse literature with a dogma of the soul: We tell ourselves stories in order to die.”

On the First Draft podcast, Mitzi Rapkin talks to Walter Mosely about concentration, writing, and his new book, Elements of Fiction.

At NiemanLab, Hanaa’ Tameez talks to Nick Martin, a former Talking Points Memo reporter who recently founded The Informant, a website dedicated to covering right-wing extremism. “I think it’s important to give these groups and these people the right kinds of exposure. It’s important to think in advance about how somebody is going to be portrayed and to really show what their hate and extremism does to people,” he said. “And that’s where centering the victims or bringing up solutions to some of these problems really comes to bear, because you get to look at the human toll that hate takes without turning these guys into celebrities.”

Despite referring to Bob Woodward as “discredited” and “a joke,” Donald Trump told Laura Ingraham that he recently sat down with the Fear author for an interview for his next book project. “I was interviewed by a very, very good writer, reporter,” he said of Woodward. “He said he's doing something and this time I said ‘maybe I'll sit down.’”