'I didn't start out a writer, and had no plans of becoming one.' Tatyana Tolstaya, translated from the Russian by Anya Migdal
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’
A Mischief of Rats
‘They slept curled together in a hammock, little scraps of fur, hearts beating madly.’ Joanna Kavenna on her pet rats, Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.
A Not-So-Pretty History of Pet Care
‘One day after the next I would figure out what was needed, learn from my mistakes, pay attention to what worked.’
A Summer of Japanese Literature
From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on
A Time for Everything
‘It can almost seem as if God was genuinely concerned about mankind.’ Translated by James Anderson.
Above the Tree Line
Teva Harrison visits and illustrates the Northwest Passage through the Canadian arctic for Granta 141: Canada
‘Silence allows me to pretend that this happened to someone else a long time ago, and not to me.’
Abuse, Silence, and the Light That Virginia Woolf Switched On
When Virginia Woolf was thirteen, she was abused by her half-brother George Duckworth. No one believed her - not even her biographers. April Ayers Lawson on Woolf's abuse, and her own.
Acts of Infidelity
‘Anticipation made it difficult for Ester to swallow.’ Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.
Addressing Mental Health Through Reading Well
‘Reading Well is more than just a booklist – it represents the power of reading to change lives.’
The Royal African Society takes a look back at the history of the Africa Writes festival, their annual celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.
‘I again told him I wasn’t ready to have sex, and his only response was to lean in and kiss me. The hallway in which we walked seemed to be shrinking, closing in on us.’ – April Ayers Lawson on intimacy after sexual abuse.
All the Devils Are Here
‘A seaside shelter in the middle of autumn – it seems a strange choice.’
‘All those appetizing vessels exposed and available, O how delightfully vulnerable they are, it brings a tear to the eye.’
‘I would peel wrappers off sandwiches, remove noodles from their boxes, fry up meat before any authorities had the chance to track me and my bounty down.’
Amy Bloom | Five Things Right Now
Amy Bloom shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.
‘The title of this series of photographs is Animal Studies, but I am not sure about that second word. A noun or a verb? A thing or an action? Are these studies of animals or are these animals studying?’ Alexander MacLeod introduces the photography of Elliot Ross.
Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi | Five Things Right Now
‘The only recurring emotion I remember experiencing was a kind of manic delight at procrastinating.’
Best Book of 1996: The Lost Lunar Baedeker
‘Mina Loy has been a preferred voice in my head, echoing with a signature delirious chant as a kind of primordial poetry mother.’
Biscotti Boys / On Men Who Wear Living as Loosely as Their Suits
‘salmaan the second son & his mama’s seventh seal by way of underwater & underemployment’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
‘These bored, frustrated and hungry animals appear as reluctant figures in some unsolvable puzzle, or as victims of a grand experiment whose original purpose is lost in time.’
Brother in Ice
‘My brother is a man trapped in ice. He looks at us through it; he is there and he is not there.’
Carys Davies | Notes on Craft
‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’
Cassiopeia (three back-to-front songs)
‘Anyway, I did not die. / I lined the sky, inside-out.’ Translated from the Georgian by Jean Sprackland and Natalia Bukia-Peters.
‘The message was cheerful, positive. I did not express weakness on my son’s behalf: this is a mother’s first rule.’
An excerpt from Matt Young's memoir Eat The Apple, which explores his three deployments to Iraq as a member of the US Marine Corps.
Climb the Mountains
'Harm that comes through the hands of those we love must be wrestled with; it does not simply disappear.'