The Art of Book Reviews, Novelist Norman Rush, the Healing Power of Stories, and More

James F. Thompson

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories:

“All lazy book reviews are essentially the same: They reflect a reviewer’s inability, or perhaps refusal, to fully engage with the writer’s project on the book’s own terms.” Natalie Bakopoulos explains the art of interpreting and reviewing books. (Millions)

Tim Horvath interviews novelist Norman Rush, whose latest book, Subtle Bodies, addresses male friendships—a subject matter the author believes is underrepresented in mainstream literature. (Tin House)

“It isn’t surprising that natural disasters and cataclysms—what with their mystifying fury and destruction—invoke the ancient epics.” Humera Afridi describes the devastation wrought by natural disasters such as Typhoon Haiyan and Hurricane Sandy, and the importance storytelling plays in alleviating the helplessness victims feel in the wake of overwhelming tragedy. (Guernica)

Emily Temple reveals the fifty essential novels for people who love food. (Flavorwire)

An undercover reporter in Britain exposes the physically and emotionally debilitating conditions of working in an Amazon warehouse during the holiday season. (BBC News)

 “In general, my war is with my temperament: I want to know things.” Poet Ellen Bryant Voigt discusses her creative process; unique use of punctuation; and Headwaters, her latest book of poetry. (Rumpus)

Novelist Nicholson Baker shares his top tips for navigating the everyday distractions that prevent writers from being able to focus on their work. (Salon)