Category Archives: Noteworthy

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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Open Letters Monthly, July 2014

A couple of weekends ago we marked the summer solstice, and you know what that means… the days are getting shorter and in another few month’s it’ll be cold and miserable again summer’s here! And the July issue of Open Letters Monthly is just what you’ll be needing to slide into summer reading mode. John […]

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In Search of Lost Fireworks

July Fourth is one of those Rorschach holidays—it’s pretty much whatever you want to make it. If you’re patriotic, bless your heart, you can celebrate it that way. If you want to go to a party and drink beer and grill, there’s plenty of opportunity for that. You can just kick back and enjoy the […]

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Color Picker, Circa 1692

It’s always fun to pull rank on the whippersnappers: Back when there was no cut-and-paste, back when there was no Undo command, back in the days of 3×5 notecards and rubber cement and Wite-Out—you kids don’t even know how to spell Wite-Out anymore, do you? But then there are those who, in turn, put me […]

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“Six Weeks On the Loose in N.Y.”: Eudora Welty Pitches the New Yorker

Who doesn’t love looking for work? Summoning your brio, shining your shoes, lying awake in bed trying to come up with a better answer to “Why would you be a good fit for this job?” than “I’d be really good at it and I’ll bring cookies to office meetings”—it’s all character-building stuff, right? Yeah, no. […]

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Tom Tryniski’s DIY Digitization

Some years ago, I worked at a small journal under an executive editor who was, to put it kindly, very old-school. Curmudgeonly might be another word you would use. Cranky might be a third. Along with the standard editorial duties, a fair amount of my time was spent trying to convince him that the move […]

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The Great Debate: Should We Let Poirot Rest in Peace?

For those of you who haven’t heard, the Agatha Christie estate is commissioning Sophie Hannah to write a new novel featuring the Queen of Crime’s master Belgian sleuth, Hercule Poirot. Among many other qualifications, Hannah’s most recent novel, The Carrier, won the Crime Thriller of the Year award at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards. […]

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Don’t Mess with Patience or Fortitude: The Demise of the Central Library Plan

In an interesting and surprising turnaround last week, the New York Public Library decided to scrap its controversial Central Library Plan. The proposed renovation, originally presented in 2008, would have sold off two of NYPL’s properties and opened up space in its iconic central building by relocating three million of the books in its stacks—half […]

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“Gray Matter” at Apogee

I didn’t set out to be a spokesman for the Graying of American Arts and Letters. I imagine my experience is the same as that of most former bright young things: for years I was always the youngest person in the room, until one day I looked up and noticed that everybody else seemed to […]

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