Cienna Madrid is taking Labor Day weekend off. She will return next week. If you can't go a single Friday without a Help Desk — believe me, I know the feeling — we have a year's worth of columns here for you to enjoy. On a related note: we at the Seattle Review of Books hope you have a fantastic Labor Day weekend. We'll see you at Bumbershoot this Sunday!

And as always: if you need advice on a literary (or literary-adjacent) matter, please send Cienna a question at Your anonymity is guaranteed. Her advice might not always be what you want to hear, but it is one hundred percent guaranteed to be correct.