The Unprecedented Success Of, And Backlash To, A LITTLE LIFE

The success of such a lengthy book of literary fiction by a relatively unknown author is surprising. The backlash has been commensurately severe.

Look, There’s Nothing Wrong With Being an Ernie, Okay?

We get it! A lot of you are Berts. That’s great. Berts make the world go round. Nicole’s a Bert. Mike’s is like the Bert. (His response: “Um, I want to be Big Bird.” Sure you do, buddy.) Josh is at least kind of a Bert — he’d have to be, being a lawyer and all. Meaghan is whatever muppet just had a baby. Mother and child are doing fine, btw!

When Society Makes You Feel Like a Criminal

Ross Gay, who teaches creative writing at Indiana University in Bloomington, has a really good essay about racism and identity in the current issue of The Sun Magazine. It’s especially worth reading in light of the Trayvon Martin case.

Gay grew up in a largely white, working class neighborhood in Philadelphia where he often heard the N-word thrown his way. He became so used to being perceived as a criminal, that it has even affected his shopping habits.

On Immigrants And Being Cheap

“Cheapness” typically conjures images of people who buy cheap goods at Wal-Mart, instead of the more expensive, higher quality goods that last longer. However, “immigrant cheapness” is more nuanced than that, existing over a continuum that goes from practical stories of sacrificing to get ahead, to just plain silly.