The Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Laura Miller’

Happy Birthday, Isaac Asimov (Maybe), and Other News

January 2, 2014 | by


  • Happy birthday, Isaac Asimov! Maybe. Probably.
  • Newbery winner Kate DiCamillo has been named Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, a position which has been around since 2008.
  • Sure you can find plenty of lists of best of 2013, but what books were unfinishable? (Well, for Laura Miller?)
  • Ruth Rendell: “Reading is becoming a kind of specialist activity and that strikes terror into the heart of people who love reading.”


    Halloween Reads; Seducing a Writer

    October 22, 2010 | by

    I recently found myself craving some terrifying literature—the idea of reading something frightening feels so seasonally appropriate. That said, I’d like to avoid fiction that panders to generic tropes and also isn’t by Irving or Poe. Could you recommend a work of genuine literary merit that’s also disturbing and Halloween-ish? —Ryan Sheldon

    Two spooky writers spring immediately to mind: Shirley Jackson and Angela Carter. Jackson is the more Hallowe’eny of the two. You might begin with her last novel, first published in 1962 (and reissued last year), We Have Always Lived in the Castle. I’m not sure what you mean about generic tropes: This is absolutely pure New England Gothic, but there is no pandering in it. I think the literature of the uncanny depends on genre conventions—and, at its most uncanny, plays with them, so the spooky and the banal get mixed up together.

    Readers of The Daily have seen me recommend Angela Carter’s stories, collected in Burning Your Boats. They are favorites of mine. (Burning Your Boats came to me, originally, as a present from kid-lit expert Laura Miller. It is one of those favorite books that I lent out years ago and never got back.) When Carter rewrites a fairytale, she doesn’t make light of it, she finds what is really and truly disturbing in the original and burnishes that until it shines. If you like Bruno Bettelheim, you’ll love Angela Carter.

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