I discovered two new facts about Laura. The first is that my 148 diaries represent only about one eighth of the total number of volumes Laura wrote. It turns out that I don’t have a single complete year after 1962, and that almost all the 70s, the second half of both the 60s and 80s, and most of the 90s are missing. Estimating from the gaps in my collection, the correct total number of books is closer to 1,000, or 40m words. Laura was the most prolific diarist in known history.
"Are there different rules for men and women in the world of literary fiction?" "...the top tier of literary fiction — where the air is rich and the view is great and where a book enters the public imagination and the current conversation — tends to feel peculiarly, disproportionately male. Will the literary habits of a culture change as younger readers take over?"
Shields died in 2003 at the age of 68, but her legacy is renewed this year with the release of Startle and Illuminate, a collection of writing advice, in her own words, curated from her essays, lectures and personal correspondence by her daughter Anne Giardini and grandson Nicholas Giardini.