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Tarek El-Aris, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies ProfessorIn this week's edition, we hear from Tarek El-Ariss, associate professor and chair of Middle Eastern Studies.  Author of Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age (Princeton University Press, 2019) and editor of The Arab Renaissance: A Bilingual Anthology of the Nahda (The Modern Language Association of America, 2018), El-Ariss's varied research interests include contemporary Arabic culture, literature, and art; new media and cyber culture; digital humanities; Nahda literature, language, press, and literary theory; travel writing - among many other things.

What are your books about?

While "The Arab Renaissance" is about the project of Arab modernity in the 19th century, "Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals" is about the challenges to Arab modernity in the digital age.

Where did you get your ideas for this?

I'm a scholar of modernity and the enlightenment in Europe and the Middle East, and I'm particularly interested in examining how modernity and its fundamental constituents (nation state, subject, ethics, novel, public sphere) are evolving in different contexts and at different times. Transformations in digital communication combined with the political upheavals that gripped the Middle East since 2011 especially led me to examine the relation between politics and writing, public protests and cyber attacks, and the rational subject of the liberal nation state and the leaking and hacking subject online.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

I spend a lot of time in my office surrounded by my books; this makes me feel safe. My books are my companions as they inspire me and serve as references. When I do my research, I take a lot of notes, hundreds of pages, which I then distill into articles and chapters. I'm a compulsive editor; I go up to 10 or 15 drafts for every piece of writing. Good writing is editing.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

An interactive environment with touch screens that reveal books and point to where they are. The virtual and the material are not mutually exclusive. With new technology there is expediency and speed but also forms of intimacy that will give new meaning to our need to touch and hold.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Take intellectual risks, cross disciplinary boundaries, and edit edit edit!

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Graphic novels (from Maus to Persepolis), the Presocratics (Parmenides, Thales, Zeno), Alexandre Dumas, Diane de Selliers books, The Arabian Nights.

Next time you’re in line at the KAF, take a look at the Spring 2019 exhibit of new books by Dartmouth authors, on topics ranging from early colonial (US) history, to heterocyclic chemistry, to teaching leadership.  But wait, there's more! Check out “Holding Court,” a series of short interviews with the authors, published throughout the term.  And you won't want to miss the spring’s blockbuster book talk featuring Colin G. Calloway, author of The Indian World of George Washington (Oxford, 2018) in conversation with none other than our very own J. Wendel Cox, librarian for History, English, and historian of the North American West.

The Dartmouth Library has a copy of each one of Spring 2019 display books for check-out, or, look for them in a library or bookstore near you:

Colin G. Calloway, The Indian World of George Washington (Oxford University Press, 2018)

Julio Ariza, El abandono: abismo amoroso y crisis social (Beatriz Viterbo, 2018)

Levi S. Gibbs, Song King: Connecting People, Places, and Past in Contemporary China (University of Hawaii Press, 2018)

Annabelle Cone, Empty Nesting (Waffle House Publishing, 2018)

Tarek El-Ariss, Leaks, Hacks, and Scandals: Arab Culture in the Digital Age (Princeton University Press, 2019; The Arab Renaissance: A Bilingual Anthology of the Nahda2018 (Modern Language Association of America)

Peter Jacobi, Introduction to Heterocyclic Chemistry(John Wiley and Sons, 2019)

Cecilia Gaposchkin, Invisible Weapons: Liturgy and the Making of Crusade Ideology (Cornell University Press, 2017); Liturgy and Devotion in the Crusader States (Routledge, 2019)

Michelle T. Clarke, Machiavelli's Florentine Republic (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Sadhana Warty Hall, Teaching Leadership: Bridging Theory and Practice (Edward Elgar Press, 2018)

Nicola Camerlenghi, St. Paul's outside the Walls : a Roman basilica, from antiquity to the modern era (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Laurence Hooper, assistant professor of ItalianIn this week's edition of Holding Court, we remember and honor Laurence Hooper, Assistant Professor of Italian, who passed away on January 25, 2019.  Laurence was a scholar of Dante and Petrarch, and co-editor of the important Realisms and idealisms in Italian culture, 1300–2017 with Brendan Hennessey and Charles L. Leavitt IV.  This volume offers a critical look at the so-called "real" versus the "ideal" Italy, and exemplifies Laurence's wide-ranging interests in exploring the complexity of Italian culture.  Laurence's life was far too short, but he left behind a legacy of joyful commitment to intellectual work that resonates not only here on campus, but among scholars around the world.  A voracious reader and library user, Laurence partnered with me from his first days at Dartmouth to build up the library's holdings, and it's a credit to him that our collections are as strong as they are in the study of Dante.  I miss him, and am grateful that he took the time, during the last few months of his life, to share his reflections in this interview.

What is this volume about?

It’s about Italian culture’s grittier, darker side — realism — and how it defines the national identity. This often escapes casual observers because they associate Italy with high art and beauty — idealism.

Where did you get your ideas for this?

Ever since I started visiting Italy and studying Italian culture, and my co-editors both report similar experiences, I’ve been intrigued by the discrepancy between the “real” Italy, where everyday life goes on but there is human misery and strife, and the ideal “Italy,” which is this blissful land of fine arts, great cuisine, and architectural splendor. What’s really interesting is that both the Italians themselves, and foreign observers truly believe in that idealized Italy of art and beauty. But, within Italy, there’s another pole: a failed, broken, degraded version of the ideal, characterized by political corruption, institutional dysfunction, and violence that’s largely ignored outside of the country. That’s an extreme too, of course, but I think it begins to explain Italians’ long history of fascination with realism, which dates back to Dante and Boccaccio, as an antidote to the notion that their country is effectively a museum of beautiful artifacts. By focusing on Italian realism, which is so often neglected, we hope to steer a middle road between idealized good and idealized bad, in order to build up a new and more accurate picture of Italian culture. My co-editors and I decided to pull together a team of people who could really give a sense of this Italian realism across time and in a variety of settings.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Research for me is mostly about reading. I read and read until ideas start to coalesce, then I read some more. And, as I’m going, I’m taking copious notes, both about the text I’m reading and, more importantly on what I think of it and how it fits with everything else I’m considering for this project. It’s these notes to self that form the basis for whatever I then come to write.  My iPad Pro 10.5” has become my indispensable reading companion. I’m especially enamored of the (1st generation) Apple Pencil. I take much better notes by hand and now that I can scribble on PDFs and input text from handwriting, I’m much happier than I was with a laptop.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I hope it will have a lot of its activities and holdings online and so be accessible worldwide. At the same time, the library building should always be at the heart of a university campus. Ideally, the library will be the logical place onsite for intellectual work, both collaborative and individual. So, as well as rendezvous points and coffee, it should have multiple quiet, comfortable zones where a student or faculty member can settle down and work on a problem or question for a number of hours.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Read everything but only within strict limits guided by your research.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I love history: Reformed Protestantism, the history of colonies and empires, and any kind of US history are my favorite topics right now. A couple of titles I’d recommend would be Steven Hahn, A Nation without Borders  and Richard Rothstein, the Color of Law.

Photo of Robert St. Clair, assistant professor of FrenchIn this week's edition, we speak with Robert St. Clair, assistant professor in the Department of French and Italian.  Rob is a scholar of 19th century French literature, who finds the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud an inexhaustible source of inspiration and inquiry.  The author of Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud: Lyrical Material (Oxford University Press, 2018), Rob is also co-editor in chief of the Rimbaud-focused journal Parade Sauvage. How does Rob manage to get work done?  With post-it notes.  Lots of them.

What is your book about?

Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud is about the social materiality of poetry in Second Empire France (1851-1870)—that is to say, the intersections of the aesthetic and the historical, of art with its social situation. It takes as an emblematic case of this materiality the role played by representations of the body in the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891): the enfant terrible of French letters whose work transformed the literary landscape of French modernity before he ostensibly gave up on poetry altogether at the age of 20.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

From years of reading Rimbaud's poetry and being productively puzzled.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

If I were to settle on one allegorical image of what research looks like for me, it would be this: post-it notes. An absolute maelstrom of post-it notes littered across piles of books. I have always found that reading is the sneakiest, most productive form of writing there is. So, in a word, the research element I couldn't live without is: books. Library books. None of my research could have been done without library books!

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

My sincere and real hope is that the library of the future persists and thrives in its material form: that is, as a real place, with real librarians, with real books among real stacks that one can wander around in - perhaps for the sheer pleasure of picking up a book out of curiosity, perhaps in only apparent aimlessness. If I did not regularly lose entire mornings leafing through the stacks in Baker-Berry - coming on occasion across invaluable texts and studies that I hadn't been looking for - I shudder to think of the state some of my work would be in.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Don't stop reading.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

It's not always easy to find time for this, but I find it's crucial. In the past week I've been reading a book by the art historian T.J. Clark called Heaven on Earth. It's a study of the idea and political problem of the utopian in Western art from the late middle ages to the contemporary period. There's a chapter in there on Bruegel's Land of Cockaigne (Shlaraffenland, Le Pays de cocagne, or something like the more recent "Big Rock Candy Mountain") for which every page was breathtaking, poignant, humorous, a little on the despondent side. Similarly in the vein of picking things up for no reason, I got through a very short novel by Georges Perec the other day, Quel petit vélo à guidon chromé au fond de la cour? It's a deeply funny, playfully complex little story about a group of friends trying to come up with a way of getting one of their pals - whose name the narrator can never quite recall or get consistently right - out of the draft during the Algerian War of Independence (like any good "joke," in other words, its implicit cultural and historical backdrop is anything but a laughing matter).

 

 

A portrait of Julie Hruby, a professor of classics.
A portrait of Julie Hruby, a professor of classics.

In this week's edition, we speak with Julie Hruby, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies.  Hruby is an archaeologist, specializing in cooking and cooking implements, and her latest research involves incorporating advanced forensic techniques and computational methods in the study of fingerprints on clay vessels and other artifacts.

What is your book about?

This volume explores what their cooking pots say about prehistoric Greeks, including how their cuisine interacted with others' and how food constructed socioeconomic class.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

I had been writing about prehistoric cuisine for more than a decade when a colleague suggested that we put together a panel on the topic of Late Bronze Age Aegean cooking pots for an annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America. We both knew that this field had huge gaps in it. One of the session attendees was a reporter for LiveScience who wrote an article about my paper; a student and I had made replicas of Mycenaean cooking pots and tested a few hypotheses about how they had been used. The topic was picked up by a wide range of international media, including NPR's "The Splendid Table." That, in combination with the fact that the papers in the session formed a varied but coherent set of truly novel approaches, suggested that publication would be useful.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Most of my research takes place in Greece, because I work exclusively on excavated archaeological material. I have worked on excavations, field surveys, in the work rooms in museums, and in labs. Measuring things seems to be a constant, although which tools I use are dictated by the questions I ask; they range from very simple (rulers, calipers, diameter charts) to fairly elaborate (a high-resolution 3D scanner). The other tool I use constantly is a camera.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I hope that the library of the future will include both analog and digital resources, with materials in whatever format makes the most sense for the type of publication. For example, excavation publications are rarely read from start to finish; they are more often searched for material relevant to topic-oriented studies, and the searchable nature of digital publications makes digital formats preferable. However, topically oriented studies within archaeology and many other fields are more often read, and there is excellent evidence that things read in hard copy are remembered better than things read digitally. As a result, while article length studies can be digitized and printed when needed, anything that is book-length should probably be maintained in hard copy.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

The only way to think and write well is to know how to identify an interesting question to think and write about. The challenge is that what "interesting" means varies from year to year, from person to person, and from culture to culture. Ideally, you want to do one of two things: find a question that many other people have asked but have not managed to answer, then find a newer approach to answering it, or find a question that other people have not yet asked but that has some bearing on larger questions that they have asked. Also, read, constantly, and leave yourself a little time every day to mull new ideas or new approaches to old ones (in the shower and before falling asleep work well for me).

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Science fiction has been my favorite genre since I was a reading-obsessed child who tripped over her father's extensive collection of books by Isaac Asimov. More recently, I have enjoyed Lois McMaster Bujold's work, especially the Vorkosigan saga, and Ann Leckie's novels.

Kianny N. Antigua, lecturer of Spanish.

In this week's edition, we speak with Kianny N. Antigua, lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese department.  Kianny is a prolific writer, the author of multiple works of poetry and children's literature. The books on display this term include Greña/Crazy Hair; Mía y el regalo de Guauguau; and ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras!    Recently, Greña/Crazy Hair won the prize for Most Inspirational Children's Picture Book in the International Latino Book Awards.

What are these books about?

Greña/Crazy Hair; Mía y el regalo de Guauguau; and ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras! talk about acceptance, self-love, biculturalism, transtierro, family and friendship.

Where did you get your ideas for these books?

From seeing, listening, and also experiencing injustices, bullying, life. However, I always try to present these topics in a way that is understandable and enjoyable for both children and adults. I want my books to be conversation-openers.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

I try to write about topics that I am passionate about, and fiction gives me a lot freedom to play! Nevertheless, I always read as much as I can —fiction, anecdotes, news, and texts— about the subject.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

I truly hope it doesn’t change much. I love to interact with paper books, to sit in both quiet spaces and community spaces to read, to share, to converse. I understand the advantages of digital libraries, I benefit from it, but I need the touch, the real one!

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

There is an indivisible relationship between reading and writing; one feeds the other, and vice-versa. Also, and just as important: begin to write! The editing, the reasoning, can come later. Free your words!

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I, immensely, enjoy reading books with my daughter, children and chapter books, in English —The Little Girl with the Big Voice, by Wé McDonald; Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 1 & 2, by Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli; and The Boy Who Opened Our Eyes, by Elaine Sussman. But I also need my me-time: Mujeres en la Guerra civil de El Salvador (1980-1992) (2017), by Margarita Drago and Juana M. Ramos; Sutiles (short story), by José M. Fernández Pequeño; and No creo que yo esté aquí de más. Antología de poetas dominicanas 1932-1987, Rosa Silverio, compiler. And, in English, Poquito. Unpacking the Memory Jar; and Flowers on the Wall (unpublished), by Tanya Montás Paris.

photo of William FItzhughHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we hear from William W. Fitzhugh, Director of the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center and Visiting Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth.  His book about "the unicorn of the sea," Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend  , coedited by Martin T. Nweeia, is the companion to an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in 2017.

What is your book about?

Our book presents new discoveries about the elusive high arctic narwhal--its biology, ecology, Inuit and European relationships, new discoveries about its enigmatic tusk, and its prospects in a warming arctic.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Narwhal was inspired by research revealing the tusk is a sensory organ that helps the animal navigate the Arctic's icy seas.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Exploring Arctic cultures and the environment will be my passion for lifetimes to come.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

A virtual network with Borg-like connectivity.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Follow your passion. Let instinct be your guide.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

Great naturalists like Charles Darwin, Edward Nelson, Alexander von Humboldt, Thomas Jefferson, and Louis Agassiz.

Library of Congress [Public Domain]
Happy New Year, and happy reading!  What better way to ring in the year than with a slate of new books by Dartmouth authors?  Displayed in the King Arthur Flour Café of Baker-Berry Library, the books this Winter 2019 term range from poetry and creative nonfiction, to children's books in Spanish, to a history of pedometers and other quantification devices.  Each week we publish interviews with the authors, a chance for you to learn more about their research and writing process, and what their ideal library looks like.  And on Wednesday, February 6, at 4 PM, we will host a book talk with Jacqueline Wernimont, whose book, Numbered Lives: Life and Death in Quantum Media (MIT Press, 2018).  Free and open to the public.  We hope you will join us for what promises to be a fascinating event.  In the meantime, be sure to check out all of the books on display:

Kianny N. Antigua (Spanish and Portuguese)

Greña/Crazy Hair, Mía y el regalo de Guaguau/Mía and the Gift from Guaguau, ¡Pero es que aquí no hay palmeras!

Zenghong Chen (Library)

An illustrated catalog of Chinese ancient books in Dartmouth College Library […]

William W. Fitzhugh (Anthropology and Arctic Studies)

Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend

Mary Flanagan (Film and Media Studies)

Ghost Sentence

Laurence Hooper (French and Italian)

Realisms and Idealisms in Italian Culture  

Julie Hruby (Classics)

From Cooking Vessels to Cultural Practices in the Late Bronze Age Aegean

Richard Ned Lebow (Government)

Max Weber and international relations; Avoiding War, Making Peace; The Rise and Fall of Political Orders

Peter Orner (English and Creative Writing)

Lavil: Life, Love and Death in Port-au-Prince

Am I Alone Here?

Robert St. Clair (French and Italian)

Poetry, Politics, and the Body in Rimbaud: Lyrical Material

Jacqueline Wernimont (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies)

Numbered lives : life and death in quantum media

Melinda O'Neal photoHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we speak with Melinda O'Neal, Professor Emerita of Music and Artistic Director and Conductor Emerita of the Handel Choir of Baltimore.  With O'Neal's book, Experiencing Berlioz: A Listener's Companion (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018) readers are introduced not only to the sonic landscape of Berlioz' work, but to the ways that history, biography and literature can deepen and enrich one's appreciation of his music.

What is your book about?

Experiencing Berlioz is about finding touchstones for understanding the music of Berlioz—discovering what works to listen to, what to listen for, and how listening can bring deeper enjoyment.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

When I first rehearsed a choral work by Berlioz in graduate school, its beauty and originality took my breath away. Then while preparing Berlioz works for performances with the Dartmouth Chamber Singers, Handel Society, Seattle Symphony Chorale, and other ensembles, I looked more broadly at his repertoire. I discovered that the majority of his works are for singers and instruments, not for instruments alone as is commonly supposed. Why this misconception? The central questions then became, what is it about his music—songs, choruses, extended choral-orchestral works, operas, and symphonies—that makes performing and listening to them so gratifying, so compelling? How can I connect others to this treasure-trove? I am grateful for all the Dartmouth performers and students in my courses who contributed to this effort.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

To write this book I needed access to all of Berlioz’s scores, the poetry, novels and plays he set or based his music on, his books and reviews, and the perspectives of every other Berlioz scholar. Live concerts, attended or conducted, were essential so I could hear the music as it interacted with the acoustics of the hall, see the sources of individual sounds, and experience different interpretations. High quality recordings, texts, and excellent translations were invaluable, of course.

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

Walking into a music library brimming with bustle and interaction is always a pleasure. I hope those who enter in the future will also find…

  • easy access to as many world-wide styles and genres of music as possible, newest to old and in a variety of formats.
  • multiple recordings of the same repertoire (including rare recordings off the beaten path), so listeners can perceive how different interpretations and performance practices vastly affect the impact of a composition.
  • a silent, calm space. Much of the musical experience takes place from inside out. For example, a performer imagining the sound with only the score in hand, or a composer or improvisor simply imagining, or a listener remembering/imagining. These all require deep concentration.
  • an experimental digital laboratory designed to hear selections as they might sound and feel in spaces altered to different sizes and shapes or played by different instruments and other media.

 What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

Aspiring music scholars should perform, listen, attend live concerts, read thoroughly and widely, be well-grounded in music history and theory. Take those graduate courses in bibliography, learn foreign languages, explore music’s intersection with other disciplines, travel. When writing, seek feedback often and be prepared to write many drafts. Most importantly, write about what you know and love.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

I read the daily news, The New Yorker magazine, and mysteries by Donna Leon, Deborah Crombie, and others. As I enter into retirement, I look forward to reading more American history and biographies.

Photo of Alexander CheeHolding Court is an interview series that features the authors of the new books on display in the King Arthur Flour café in Baker-Berry Library.

In this week's edition, we hear from Alexander Chee, author of the collection of essays How to Write an Autobiographical Novel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018).  Chee has received critical acclaim for this and his recently published The Queen of the Night (2016).  About How To [...], J.W. McCormack, for the New York Times, writes "Chee has written a moving and personal tribute to impermanence, a wise and transgressive meditation on a life lived both because of and in spite of America."  On Wednesday, October 24, at 4 PM, Chee will give a talk, "Your Life in Fiction," in which he will present his book and join in conversation with fellow writer, Peter Orner.  Please join us.

What is your book about?

The essays in this book span 25 years and are about everything from rose gardens, to money and social class, to protesting government inaction during the start of the AIDS epidemic, to writing novels.

Where did you get your ideas for this book?

I think of the ideas here as ideas that wouldn't leave me alone.

What does research look like for you? What element of research could you not live without?

Fiction writers, contrary to popular belief, do research. I begin typically by asking myself what I don't know that I should know to write, and then I go to the library and begin usually by speaking to a librarian with expertise in that field. I follow the bibliographies and footnotes of the works I read and use that as a map to further reading. Translated novels, for example, typically contain the context clues you won't get by reading the novel in the writer's own language, and this is important if you're setting a novel, say, in 19th Century France and you weren't alive then, or in France.

I like to visit the places I'm writing about. I take pictures because I won't notice everything on the visit right away, and sometimes even video on my phone. If I can't get away to visit for financial reasons or time constraints, social media helps--an Instagram or Flickr tag is super helpful. And visits to special collections are always fun when researching anything in the past. I still remember the box brought to me containing a subject's passports from over his entire lifetime, including the French ones he had while an agent of the OSS during World War II.

Even when writing about yourself in a personal essay, research yourself. Treat yourself like a subject when you write about yourself. In writing these essays about my own experiences, I went back to my own diaries, letters, emails, notebooks--I re-read the books I was reading sometimes, referred to photos, asked questions of those I remembered being there. Most of what I found needed checking was what I was most confident about. This is because you have to outwit both your ego and the ego's child--the too-confident memory. As for what I could not do without, well, I already have mourned the loss of the card catalogue, for the way it allowed me to find the essential things I hadn't meant to search for. I hope there will always be stacks. I love wandering stacks and finding things I never imagined possible. This is a kind of research, and if I have a personal motto, it is probably "Wandering finds it."

What do you think the library of the future will look like?

A university I once taught at early in my career froze its acquisitions because of budget cuts, and the librarians I knew there described how fatal that could be to a library. I came to fear a library made out of an accountant's imagination then. I hope that's not the library of the future.

I think thriving libraries are the sign of a healthy community--they are part of a community's immune system. My hope is that the library of the future works to retain commitments to the communities it serves while also keeping its own integrity as a series of spaces, and a series of contexts. I think libraries are at their best when they introduce communities to each other, in particular, and facilitate not just knowledge but new interactions that lead to new knowledge and new connections. I don't know what that looks like but I hope to find out.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scholar or writer?

It is very important to do the work that feels most connected to your sense of yourself--and to begin by choosing the field or fields that have the ability to make your ideas articulate to yourself and others. Your career won't be something you can sustain if it doesn't connect to your imagination directly. This may seem like obvious advice but I see so many young people determined to prepare for a future that feels unimaginable to them, that they feel they should pursue, to fulfill someone else's idea of their right future. Work for a future that has room for you to live in it.

And finally, what do you read for fun?

For a few years I read Iris Murdoch novels for fun--it was something of a hobby, with no critical mission except my own pleasure--and I hope to get back to it soon (there's about 16 left on my list). I also love Japanese Manga, and comics like Saga, and I still read my oldest love, the X-Men.