Notable Articles

October 27, 2010

The Sorry State of the Rejection Letter 40

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Sad but true, the rejection letter, like so many things in book publishing, is a shadow of what it used to be.

October 11, 2010

Gratuitous: How Sexism Threatens to Undermine the Internet 12

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I like following Lisa’s blog because, for whatever reason, her narrative is compelling. Following it is somewhat akin to watching a reality TV show (Not one of the ones where they try to out-dance each other or diet for money, but one that just follows someone’s daily life). She’s my Jersey Shore.

September 10, 2010

Stieg Larsson: Swedish Narcissus 100

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In any other book, I would see these tactics as pandering to the baser instincts of the reading public. But in this book, in which Mikael is so obviously a stand-in for Stieg, it’s just tacky. Especially since this Stieg/Mikael amalgamation has also appointed himself head of the Respecting Women Committee.

September 8, 2010

Is Big Back? 23

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A mini-boom in big books would seem to complicate our assumptions about the Incredible Shrinking Attention Span.

August 27, 2010

Again, I Ask: Are Picture Books Leading Our Children Astray? 12

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The next time you’re in the supermarket, inspect a box of Alpha-Bits. What you’ll find in that milk-splashed bowl will shake you to your core.

August 24, 2010

Tough Love: A Review of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom 18

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With 2001’s The Corrections, Franzen would seem to have perfected his maximalist method. What might it mean to say that his new novel, Freedom, finds him maturing?

August 17, 2010

Where We Write: The Merits of Making Do 36

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I began to suspect I was too susceptible to the idea of the “writer’s desk” and decided it might be better to do without one. Somewhere along the way, I began to work in libraries. More important, I began to get work done in libraries.

August 16, 2010

The Franzen Cover and a Brief History of Time 17

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A look at Time‘s 83 literary coverboys and -girls reveals a waffling between reaching out and selling out that, today, we’d describe as Franzean.

August 12, 2010

Writing Is My Peppermint-Flavored Heroin 17

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Panic attacks, advance reviews, firearms, squirrels, and chocolate milk: One writer’s diary leading up to the day his debut novel is published. Or: “The Ecstasy and Agony of My First Novel Being Published.”

July 26, 2010

Orwell and the Tea Party 39

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George Orwell never thought that his work would outlive him by much. After all, he considered himself “a sort of pamphleteer” rather than a genuine novelist. Yet sixty years later, Orwell endures, and I am not sure that this is a good thing.