October 10th, 2011 / 4:55 pm


The Dzanc Sessions, coordinated by Anna Leigh Clark, look pretty interesting. Session One classes begin the week of October 16. Each class spans eight or ten weeks. The content of the class is the same regardless of the time span; it is merely accelerated in the eight-week version. Eight-week Session One classes run through the week of December 4. Ten-week classes run through the week of December 18. Session Two will begin the first week of January 2012 with another eclectic line-up of workshop opportunities. The price for workshops is $325 Cost includes a three-month membership to the Dzanc Books eBook Club. (Or, if you do not have an e-reader, you can select a free copy of any print title from Dzanc Books.) The bulk of your registration fee supports the non-profit work of Dzanc Books. A portion of it supports the work of your instructor and the administration of the Dzanc Sessions.

Anna also has a great roundup of literary things here.

Don’t forget that the new Literary Magazine Club discussion begins on November 1. You can find details on ordering the magazine we’ll be reading, Beecher’s here.

Emily Books. What do you guys think of the concept? I’ve talked about how we’re inundated by books these days and it’s hard to know what to read. I’ve also talked about Vouched Books, where Chris Newgent personally vouches for the books he sells and is both able and willing to talk about any title he caries (from a limited, curated selection). That intimacy makes it easy to get on board with taking a chance on writers we’re not familiar with and I’ve enjoyed learning about books I wouldn’t ordinarily come across at his table. Emily Books seems to do something similar. They feature one title a month, selling only e-books. There’s also a book club… if you live in NYC. A bookstore that only sells one book at any given time is intriguing. This has kind of been done before but I’m interested in future selections and seeing if other people adopt similar approaches to bookselling.

Does Timothy McSweeney have a white savior complex? I found this essay really thought provoking and it introduces interesting questions about cultural representation and the consequences of getting “it” wrong or right (via Jackson Nieuwland).

The Occupy Wall Street library has a blog worth checking out (via Bookslut).

Writer’s Relief is having a contest to support literary magazines.

The new TV season is kind of disappointing, right? I haven’t seen anything yet that I must watch.

The last two books I enjoyed: Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell (not perfect but very immersive and more complex than I initially realized) and Reality Bites Back by Jennifer Pozner (very incisive). Don’t read that latter book unless you want your enjoyment of reality television to be ruined forever (I kid, mostly).

There is an encyclopedia of science fiction. I wonder what an encyclopedia of literary fiction would look like. Divorce: In literary parlance, the dissolution of a marriage as a narrative catalyst to explain character motivations such as drinking, promiscuity, bitterness, and tear-stained arguments. See also: the children.



  1. Dawn.

      I think Emily Books is a cool idea, but I don’t read e-books unless I have to (no e-reader, just Kindle for PC). I’ve gotta have a physical copy. However, I am interested in seeing how popular it gets and what kind of books they take on in the upcoming months.

      TV shows running right now that I love: Parks and Recreation, Dexter, and Boardwalk Empire.

  2. Johannesgoransson

      A small comment (about a pet peeve of mine): The thing about Timothy McSweeney is that he was indeed a “real person.” He was not just a “literary mascot” as the writer suggests. He was my wife’s uncle, a gay guy who became schizophrenic (possibly due to his electroshock treatment) and lived on the streets for some 30 years until my wife’s dad found his brother and had him taken to a home, where he died last year. While being homeless he sent some very artistic postcards to Eggers’ mom (and a slew of other people he thought he was related to), and that’s where the name for the journal comes from. I realize this is not the main point of that article, but it’s a point I have made a few times because it irritates me that this guy has become a “literary mascot” instead of a “real person.” / Johannes

  3. deadgod

      Roxane might mean “new” shows rather than “new” episodes

      Prime Suspect has been, out of the gate, despite excellent actors and – it looks like – plenty of resources, a mild “disappointment” to me–an amped version of the same old cop show.  (The original was way more daring in its disdain of succor, at least so far.)

  4. Anonymous

      Louie is pretty much the best thing on TV.

  5. Cremistress

      I concur.

  6. Insertmetacomment

      i would say that’s mcsweeney’s fault and not the writer’s fault. maybe you should write about this. 

  7. Johannesgoransson

      Oh, I totally agreed. And I agree that my comment comes off as kind of jerkish in that way. I’ve written to the writer./Johannes

  8. deadgod

      Timothy McSweeney’s being a “literary mascot” is not at all “the writer’s fault”?

      If Timothy McSweeney were a real person and not a faceless literary mascot, what kind of person would he be?  Timothy McSweeney, as I know him, is a symbol of the inherently racist, patriarchal literati.  Timothy wears his white male privilege like an ironic T-shirt.  He probably carries on-hand photos of his minority friends […] to remind you just how post-racial he is.  Timothy can count his non-white friends on one hand, for they are at best, disposable tokens[.]  Timothy labors under the illusion that he is not an asshole.

      Wha – ho!  –“Timothy McSweeney” definitely is a “literary mascot”.

      How is Farah’s entertaining characterization not an example of T-shirt-ready racial and gender “privilege”??

  9. Cole

      I can’t figure out Emily Books; is the name meant to evoke “Emily’s List”? Their book of the month is by Ellen Willis, so maybe, but nowhere on their site do I find much information about Emily Books. 

      It seems like it will just push the problem back or up a level: if it’s hard to know what to read now, maybe it will soon be hard to know which ebook-aggregator to subscribe to. 

      Vouched Books, on the other hand… there’s an informative site. Thanks for the tip.

  10. Cole

      New tv shows: Homeland has Clare Danes looking really great and playing a CIA agent (yeah but a nice one) who takes anti-psychotics but can’t openly seek treatment because of her security clearance. There are some dreamy shots of her in the blue glow of the tv monitor, watching the surveillance cameras that show the sleeper spy on his couch, watching his TV, bathed in its blue glow… (ok that’s two shots, not one). Mandy Patinkin is super-watchable, as always, he’s everybody’s affable yet gently chiding dream boss/mentor. –But then there’s the whole islamophobic plotline, which seems to be unfortunately central to the show’s concept. 

      That’s the only one I can think of. It’s a wash.