The Art of Fiction, unlimited

From Hemingway to Didion, here's a subscription filled with testimonials about the creative process.

paris reviewI’ll join the other bookworms on this list.

There was a period (the winter of 2006) when I spent an outsize portion of my weeks in a dark internet café reading interviews on The Paris Review website. I was teaching English in northern Argentina, where finding good books in English wasn’t the easiest thing to do, so I sacrificed my eyes for hours at a time in front of a glowing screen, surrounded by adolescent boys playing video games, while I read interviews with Saul Bellow, Milan Kundera, Mavis Gallant and, being in the land of gauchos, Jorge Luis Borges.

So the magazine’s announcement last week that it had completed a digital archive of everything published over the last 63 years inspired some nostalgia. Luckily for you and that finicky creative you’re shopping for, it’s just in time for Christmas.

The “Art of Fiction” (or poetry, or screenwriting) interviews are awesome testimonials about the creative process, from Hemingway charting his daily word count on a piece of cardboard hanging beneath a mounted gazelle in his Havana apartment, to Joan Didion talking about how, as a 15-year-old, she would type out Hemingway’s stories to get the rhythms into her head, to Matthew Weiner describing how reading The Waste Land shaped his mix of high and low culture in Mad Men. And the quarterly’s art and photography portfolios, as well as its striking covers and layout, offer something for the design snobs.

The magazine is pitching the subscription, which comes with full archive access, using the tagline “never be bored again.” You could do worse for $44 USD.

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