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He might not have the high pop-culture profile of Michael Crichton, that other bestselling writer who attended Harvard Medical School, but 36-year-old Ethan Canin — author of The Palace Thief, a 1994 book of novellas — is among the country’s most acclaimed fiction writers. While at work on his second novel, Canin found time last year to edit a book of stories, with proceeds to benefit the national anti-hunger group Share Our Strength. The anthology, Writers Harvest 2 (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1996), includes works by Julia Alvarez and Melanie Rae Thon. We asked Canin what’s caught his eye lately. Here’s what he said about the film Shine:

“It’s about a young, brilliant pianist with mental illness, and as I was watching it (and listening to it), I was overcome with the sense of the angel of music — this graceful thing that touches down now and then on earth and produces such a soul-cracking gift. That’s how I felt listening — that my soul had been cracked open.”

Also recommended by Canin:

Legends of the Fall (New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1994) by Jim Harrison. “What I love about Harrison’s work is the absolutely arresting rhythm of the language, the long comma-less sentences that seem to speak themselves out loud as you read. He’s one of the writers I read when I want to be inspired to write.”

The Night in Question (New York: Knopf, 1996) by Tobias Wolff. “His books are very readable, which sounds like a pale compliment but in fact is a huge compliment. I like his stories about childhood particularly, the sense of a kid who is just a little desperate, just a little ragged, just a little bit outside the shining light.”

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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