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Stop! Look! Listen! Laura Wershler's Reading Recommendation

At the end of January, a much younger friend told me how much she enjoyed Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. My friend loves to paint and found inspiration to keep painting even if her life feels overwhelmed with grad school and a full-time job. It doesn’t matter how good she is, or what may come of it. All that matters is that she paints. 

Stop! Look! Listen! Misha Solomon’s Reading Recommendation

Ian Stephens’s lone book-length publication, Diary of a Trademark, feels like something of a lost classic, a rough (in all senses of the word) snapshot of early-nineties Montreal through the eyes of a gay man who died soon after the book was published. In Diary, Stephens knows he is succumbing to HIV/AIDS and, in the essay that opens the collection, “Weary State of Grace,” discusses a recent hospital stay in visceral detail.

Stop! Look! Listen! Sneha Madhavan-Reese's Reading Recommendation

I loved Jennifer Bowering Delisle's latest book, Micrographia, in which Delisle juxtaposes her experiences of infertility and motherhood with her own mother's declining health and medically-assisted death. These lyric essays are luminous and questioning, searching for meaning in everyday moments as well as times of intense emotion. Woven with history, etymology, mythology, medicine, and law, the ambitious structure of these essays elevates the artistry and compassion that shine through on every page. 

Stop! Look! Listen! Jen McClanaghan's Reading Recomendation

I taught a class called Cotton at my New England university. In the course, we discussed the history of the crop, of the land, and the America commercial traditions of management, capital, and mortgaging, all of which came into being with plantation slavery. We wrote formal poems in response to contemporary news stories in which black men and women were being violently erased. At the end of the semester, my students pieced together a quilt.


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