November 29, 2011

Reasons Not to Self-Publish in 2011-2012: A List 172


You see, Reader, I still don’t plan on self-publishing my first novel, though I don’t deny the positive aspects of that choice.

November 22, 2011

The Notables: 2011 1


This year’s New York Times Notable Books of the Year list is out. At 100 titles, the list is more of a catalog of the noteworthy than a distinction. Sticking with the fiction exclusively, it appears that we touched upon a few of these books as well: The Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo (Most Anticipated) […]

October 28, 2011

Seven Reasons Why Alexandre Dumas Will Never Die 5


If every smart person’s goal in life is to die broke, then Dumas was an unqualified success. But while a lesser man would have bemoaned the cruelties of fate that left him penniless on his deathbed, Dumas had this to say about death as it approached him in 1870: “I shall tell her a story, and she will be kind to me.”

September 28, 2011

Very Bad Things: A Pessimistic Reading List 9


Troubling works of fiction for troubled times.

September 21, 2011

The Life and Afterlife of Literary Theory: A Syllabus 18


In 1996, NYU physics professor Alan Sokal tricked the preeminent journal of postmodern thought into publishing his article, “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” The piece was pure gibberish.

September 10, 2011

Recovery in Pieces: A Study of the Literature of 9/11 15


We can’t blame earnest authors for trying. It just wasn’t long enough ago yet.

September 6, 2011

Ten Things I’ve Learned over 12 Years of Sending Out Stories 20


Perhaps the most embarrassing (and humbling) rejection I received was: “Sorry – but we can’t consider anything with an f word in it. You surely must know that BYU is church-sponsored.”

August 10, 2011

Homage vs. Rip-off: An Interview with Lev Grossman and a Guide to Literary Allusions in The Magician King 14


“When people think you’ve plagiarized from another writer, rather than alluded to them, the reaction is extreme. They get angry. It’s a dangerous game; you have to get it right.”

August 2, 2011

DMV Redux: An Expanded List of Writers Who Met Death By Motor Vehicle 7


When we posted our “List of Writers Who Met Death By Motor Vehicle” here recently, we acknowledged that the list was most likely far from exhaustive. Readers proved us right. Today, thanks to reader comments, we expand our tribute to writers who left us too soon.

July 5, 2011

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2011 Book Preview 45


At 7,500 words strong and encompassing 66 titles, this is the only second-half of 2011 book preview you will ever need.