Category Archives: Noteworthy

Happy Birthday, Theodore Roosevelt

Today is Dylan Thomas’s birthday, and Sylvia Plath’s, and Zadie Smith’s… the book blogosphere is practically melting from all those virtual candles. Happy birthday to those literary lights, and thanks for all the good writing. But Theodore Roosevelt was also born on this day, 156 years ago: police commissioner, governor, president, soldier, naturalist/hunter, explorer, one […]

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Fifty Scary Short Stories from Flavorwire

I am not, as a rule, a big fan of holidays—especially the ones with stuff. The thought of having to get things down from the attic and out of boxes and put them all around my house and then put them back in the boxes and take them back up to the attic in short […]

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The Birth of the Trailer

The history of book trailers dates back to the arrival of broadband Internet access and personal computers, for good reason—how else would you watch them? But there were a few outliers: TV spots for mass market blockbusters back in the early days of cable, and, apparently, some on film as well. Remember those odd shorts […]

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On Getting Self-Reliant

Sometime around the middle of this month, I tossed a piece I’d been writing on and off for a while. That’s not something I generally do. Part of what I love about essays is the process of writing myself into—and then out of—a corner. Or to work with a slightly more claustrophobic image, since that’s […]

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Open Letters Monthly, August 2014

It’s the last week of August, the last week (perhaps) of unstructured summer reading, and the perfect time to investigate the August issue of Open Letters Monthly, if you haven’t yet. Or even if you have. It’s a fine way to say farewell to the month, the summer, maybe a long stretch of unemployed indolence… […]

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A Brief Respite from Longlist Fatigue

Right around this time of year, I run out of things to say about book awards. By now all the big literary competitions have either come and gone or at the very least announced their finalists. Some, like the PEN fiction awards, have already voted in winner sbut like to ramp up the suspense by […]

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Letterforms Outside the Box

I discovered hand lettering in sixth grade, one rainy day poking through my mom’s studio in the attic. She had a little graphic design business on the side—on the side of what I was never sure, but between that and the darkroom in the basement it gave her every excuse not to engage with my […]

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Beyond “Ass in Chair”: Poets & Writers’ “Writers Recommend”

Well, hello. We’re back from a brief midsummer break—thanks eternally to Terry Weyna for holding down the fort—recharged, we hope, and refreshed, with all sorts of good things to share. As much as the labor-of-love aspect of blogging can feel like a liability, it’s unquestionably nice to be able to walk away from something for […]

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Summer Reading, Off the Beaten Track

Summer isn’t publishing’s busiest season, but the big books that come out in June and July and August get the benefit of a major shelf-to-beach-towel popular push. And then there are the other four tried-and-true types of summer reading recommendations: the difficult books, which require stretches of undistracted time; the year’s popular books that everyone’s […]

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Better Late Than Never Dept.: The PEN 2014 Literary Award Shortlist

Sometimes I’m late in keeping current with literary competition news here, and then sometimes I’m criminally late. My lack of commentary on the PEN 2014 Literary Awards would fall into that last category, unfortunately. So I’m going to do my best to catch us all up, starting with the fact that PEN America announced the […]

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