November 15, 2007

50,000 Words in 30 Days 6


This November, three of my bravest (read: most insane) students are participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While some of you may make fun of NaNoWriMo enthusiasts, I hold my tongue, for writing 50,000 words (no matter how poorly chosen) in only 30 days is impressive. Besides, another student of mine, Kelly Wiles, participated […]

November 7, 2007

Modern In A Post-Modern World 3


There’s an old Woody Allen nightclub routine, dating back to his stand-up days in the mid-60s, that goes a little like this: “I was in Europe many years ago with Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway had just written his first novel, and Gertrude Stein and I read it, and we said that is was a good novel, […]

November 4, 2007

Literature and History: A Response 3


A recent post at Pinky’s Paperhaus entitled “The backwards academic,” muses critically on the backward-looking focus of the GRE subject exam in English literature, required for applicants to English department Ph.D. programs, and, in Pinky’s case, Ph.D. programs in Creative Writing. Having cited the breakdown of the GRE subject exam in English Literature (pasted in […]

October 5, 2007

Brooklyn Volleys 0


I borrowed my roommate’s issue of New York Magazine to occupy myself with some light reading on the subway this week. Also residing in my bag, my copy of David McCullough’s 1776, which I discussed briefly here last time. There is a big difference between a Pulitzer-winning non-fiction book and a somewhat glossy bi-weekly periodical, […]

September 28, 2007

The Nail Polish Method 3


When the Virginia Quarterly Review recently posted the ten most common story titles submitted to the magazine in the last year, I was relieved that none of my own titles stared back at me from the list. Then again, if I were to name a story “Butterfly” or “Revelation,” perhaps I shouldn’t be writing it […]

September 24, 2007

Confessions of a Non-Linear Reader (What’s That Book About?) 3


I used to be a monogamist. I honored that voice in my head that intoned “Thou shalt read just one book at a time” (it was the voice of my high school English teacher, Ms. Denize.) But something happened to me this summer – some unnoticed change took place – and now here I am […]

September 18, 2007

Nothing is Dead Yet: The Era of the Trusted Fellow Reader 3


What if right now is the golden age of the book, or even the golden age of literary fiction? What if we are living in the golden age of reading, writing, and criticism? But all around us, the dominant trope of the day is death. Is it possible that a decade of poor management at […]

September 11, 2007

The Myth of the 9/11 Novel 1


On this sad anniversary, USA Today trots out the now tired question, asking for, as if we’re all looking for it, the mythical novel that will explain and place into context the tragedy of six years ago. In this case, USA Today points out the uninspiring sales of “novels inspired by 9/11” as compared to […]

September 3, 2007

The World’s Longest Novel 6


9/24: Welcome readers. Thanks for stopping by. Once you’re done reading about The World’s Longest Novel, check out some of our more recent articles or have a look at our Notable Posts, listed in the right sidebar. If you like what you see, subscribe to our RSS feed. –The Millions Over the years, there […]

August 24, 2007

In The Groves of Academe: A Report from the English Department and Some Thoughts on Graduate School 7


Graduate school in the humanities, particularly a doctorate in literature, is not a life choice whose value and purpose are necessarily self-evident. Some people look confused when I tell them that I am getting a Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature. Most others respond with some version of, “What do you do with that?” What follows […]