Recent Articles

May 29, 2008

Appearing Elsewhere 0

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Tonight at Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, I’ll be competing in the sixth NYC Literary Death Match, sponsored by Opium Magazine. I’ll be reading a ten-minute story representing Canteen, three readers will do the same on behalf of three other publications, and then an illustrious panel of judges – including The New Yorker’s Ben Greenman […]

May 28, 2008

Title Your Novel in Three Easy Steps! or, The Abstraction of Abstraction 9

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We’ve written about how difficult it can be to find a proper title for a work-in-progress. Lately, however, we’ve started to notice a certain trend that may make things easier on the budding novelist. Consider the following novels, all published within the last couple years: The Inheritance of Loss; The History of Love; The Story […]

May 27, 2008

Online Bookstore Drama 1

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Who knew. More than ten years after Amazon revolutionized retailing and became a dot-com-boom-and-bust poster child, online bookstores are once again a hot topic. Part of the reason is that corporate book retailing is experiencing a particularly tumultuous period. As we discussed over the weekend, Borders is in dire straits and may be bought out […]

May 27, 2008

Indomitable Suffering: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun 1

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More than once in Half of a Yellow Sun, the latest novel by the young Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a mother learns that her son has died. The causes are in plain sight and the deaths could not be a surprise. The novel is set during the brutal and lopsided civil war which rent […]

May 26, 2008

A House in the Country, An Ensemble Cast 7

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There’s something about an ensemble cast. And oh, the pastoral charms of a country house. Though I’d say this cinematic genre is English is certain fundamental ways, it works just as well elsewhere, a demonstrated by the list below (Italy, France, Greece, Los Angeles, Spain, Canada, the O.C.). One of the other interests of this […]

May 26, 2008

Curiosities 0

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Who killed the literary critic?: “In the age of blogging, great critics appear to be on life support. Salon’s book reviewers discuss snobbery, how to make criticism fun and the need for cultural gatekeepers.” The ongoing, seemingly never ending discussion of the death of literature and criticism continues, though Salon’s interest in “how to make […]

May 24, 2008

Quarterly Report: The Merger Question 1

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As we have every quarter for the last several, we’re looking at Barnes & Noble’s recent quarterly report to gauge the trends that are impacting the book industry – which books were big over the last few months and what’s expected for the months ahead. This quarter has been rather dramatic for the big chains. […]

May 22, 2008

Welcome to the Working Week 4: Andrew 2

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[Editor’s note: This week we’ve invited Megan Hustad, author of How to Be Useful: A Beginner’s Guide to Not Hating Work, to dissect our contributors’ first-job follies.] Andrew writes: It began, as brilliant decisions generally do, in a bar. A Saturday evening, over drinks with two friends, a few months into my first real job […]

May 21, 2008

Appearing Elsewhere 1

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I stopped by the Vroman’s Bookstore blog today to answer some questions about teaching creative writing. On Tuesday, June 3rd, I begin teaching a 6-week beginning fiction class for their Vroman’s Ed program. Also, if you have a teenager, you might consider signing him or her up for my summer fiction writing class for high […]

May 21, 2008

Welcome to the Working Week 3: Garth 0

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[Editor’s note: This week we’ve invited Megan Hustad, author of How to Be Useful: A Beginner’s Guide to Not Hating Work, to dissect our contributors’ first-job follies.] Garth writes: My first job out of college was writing for what was essentially a dot-com. In ways I wasn’t really aware of at the time, I thought […]