Quick Hits

March 1, 2008

Appearing Elsewhere 1


Millions contributor Garth takes a “Second Glance” at Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai in the most recent installment of Open Letters Monthly. The Last Samurai landed on Garth’s “Year in Reading” list last year.

February 22, 2008

Short Story Week: And May We Also Recommend 0


Recommended Collections: The Coast of Chicago and I Sailed with Magellan by Stuart Dybek Dybek owns a specific part of the literary universe, a several square-block section of the south side of Chicago. He focuses on that, hones it, and reproduces it beautifully. His stories – sentimental (but not sappy), funny, and moving – describe […]

February 20, 2008

Short Story Week: Some Recommended Short Fiction 3


“The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane (from Open Boat and Other Stories) This 1898 story, about the last survivors of a shipwreck as they fight for the safety of land on a soaked and cold dinghy, contains one of my favorite sentences in all of short fiction: “It was probably splendid, it was probably glorious, […]

February 18, 2008

On Brevity 3


In 1886, Anton Chekhov wrote a letter to his brother enumerating the following requirements for his own writing: Absence of lengthy verbiage of political-social-economic nature Total objectivity Truth descriptions of persons and objects Extreme brevity Audacity and originality; flee stereotypes Compassion I like to present this list at the start of any fiction writing class […]

February 18, 2008

Short Story Week at The Millions: A Brief Introduction 1


Recently, the innovative literary magazine One-Story launched a campaign to “Save the Short Story.” As the essay below suggests, we at The Millions found this effort admirable, and also puzzling. Is “the short story” even a single thing? And, if so, does it need saving? On both questions, the evidence seems mixed. We can agree, […]

February 7, 2008

Frank Wilson, An Editor Who Tried Something New 1


Tomorrow is Frank Wilson’s final day as book editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. This is notable not just because fragile book sections can ill afford to lose advocates like Wilson and not just because of the boisterous and popular link blog, Books, Inq, that Wilson ran on the side (and has hinted he will continue.) […]

February 6, 2008

On Garner’s Usage: In Praise of Exacting Prose 1


Derek Teslik is still in his 20s for 15 more days and lives in Washington, DC. A few weeks ago Max posted about the “rules of writing.” About a week later, Garth revisited David Foster Wallace’s essay “Up, Simba!” which was published in the 2005 essay collection Consider the Lobster. “Tense Present: Democracy, English, and […]

February 5, 2008

If… 1


If you like the New York Giants,Or just happen to live in New York and listen to sports radio;If you have heard how fickle Giants fans have treated their quarterback,Doubting his abilities with every unkind bounce of the ball;If you were subjected to any amount of Superbowl hypeIn which Eli Manning was measured without end […]

January 31, 2008

Will This Be the Most Profitable Super Bowl Ever? 1


The WGA writers’ strike (should that all be capitalized? has it been trademarked yet?) has hit the economy of Los Angeles in a big way, hurting everybody from the top down. Some idiot actually predicted that the strike would be over by Christmas (D’oh!). Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and LA has really suffered. But will […]

January 29, 2008

Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses 6


A friend who has long since gotten out of the literary scholarship racket was once, briefly, quite intent on writing a dissertation entitled “Parrots, Pirates, and Prostheses.” I have a vague recollection that the argument was to involve something about how pirates seem often to lose hands, legs, and eyes, and that along with their […]