December 11th, 2011 / 1:47 pm

“Best of” lists should be reconsidered as “In club” lists. Unless you can read all of the books, you’re going to pick the cool kids. Especially small press listers. So predictable it hurts.


  1. Collinsry4

      Um, I heart you. Unless you are being ironic & shit.


      p.s. there should be a site that just lists new small press books & lets peeps figure out shit on their owns. who needs gatekeepers/peoples to dictate aesthetics?

  2. ryder collins

      oh snap, is it still mean week aka tobs aka new and improved mean week & i totally fell for it?

  3. John Minichillo

      It’s really hard for any small press book to get noticed. To get on a list, first you have to get reviewed, and small presses have limited reach / limited review copies / limited pre-pub hype.

      I was really surprised to end up on this list.

      It means a lot and it’s one of the best things to happen for my book so far, and I really doubt it will appear on any other lists.

      30 Under 30 is also on it, but I really doubt in-ness had much to do with it.

      I think the lists are pretty persuasive. When someone says here are my favorite books from last year, we might listen. It’s less work than reading all the reviews, at a time when readers are in the shopping mood.

      So maybe “best of” is a misnomer and we should know it’s really “favorites” or “notables.”

  4. M. Kitchell

      This is why my “best of” lists always generally include authors that are mostly dead.  the “in-scene” is stupid.  i prefer ghosts.

  5. Michael

      FWIW, The National Book Award has gone out of its way lately to nominate small press titles. 

  6. Mike Meginnis

      Yeah, I think the listmakers should name their lists more honestly. The only thing I don’t like about best-of lists is that they shouldn’t be called that.

  7. ryder collins

      ghosts are cool. i wish i was cool & could write for a cool litblog & decry the coolness of the “in-scene.”

  8. M. Kitchell

      i just wanna write stories about hot middle-aged dudes fucking ghosts while strobe lights flash

      ok i lied there are other things i want to do too i guess

  9. Katie Smither

      hot middle-aged dudes fucking ghosts =  literature (or writing… i mean, call it whatever i guess  #keepitcurrent)

  10. M. Kitchell

      i can no longer identify irony vs sincerity on the internet, i hate this world

  11. Rob

      It’s amazing how many “best books of the year” just happen to be written by friends of the lister.

  12. ryder collins

      mama likes your comment, but the sincere part of her wants a semicolon…

  13. M. Kitchell

      the only punctuation i bother using most of the time are commas, colons, slashes, parentheses, ampersands, and apostrophes for possession & contraction

      this is because i am a rebel / i always forget how semicolons actually function (maybe)

  14. Jonathan Safran Foer

      No need for duplicity friends… these days Nicole Aragi mostly handles the ugliness of publicity and such, when I’m not assigned a p.r. team but back in the old days I found if you catch the eye of a grand dame of letter then things more or less fall into place. 

  15. Bobby Dixon

      They’re great for joining independent clauses! I fucking hate quotations, though, unless their scare quotes. 

      I would like to see a “best of” list for semi colons in tweets by dead celebrities. 

  16. Bobby Dixon

      If there were more book gangs and general book vigilantes, I think it might make a better world. 

  17. ryder collins

      that’s right, yo. mama had a 70 year old professor of 19th Century American Lit once tell her that comma splices were transgressive but not as transgressive as what got the sexual womens killed in 1970s and 80s American horror films… mama has used semicolons ever since.

  18. shaun gannon

      altlit future book gang read them all

  19. Katie Smither

      i’ve been told semicolons are (eh em, technically) supposed to have a joining word to combine those oh so independent clauses, as in:  i sincerely love you; though, i resent you sometimes, pseudo-academic internet literature and/or writing blog.

      but.   my irony was sincere (and maybe a tad vice-versa.)  sincerony is a movement.  we’re artists in the digital 21st century.  we love to hate.  perhaps more than ever.

  20. werdfert

      there is no such thing as “sincerity on the internet.”

  21. Katie Smither

      not true.  sincerely.   ♥  <<  see.  it's just a specific kind of investment, love.

  22. Katie Smither

      but also seriously: type sites, videos people set to music on youtube, people talking into their webcams, youtube celebrities, the numerous numerous blogs about the numerous numerous lives, HTMLGIANT.  there’s sincerity on the net, we just have a hard time processing it because there’s so much to process.

  23. ryder collins

      Haters gonna hate; though I sincerely loves you.

  24. barry

      katie, i’m sure you’ve been told. but its just not true. when you link two independent clauses together using a semicolon, transitional phrases are only optional. its not your fault though, i imagine your comp teacher was a creative writing ta who thought the rules of grammar were outdated and unnecessary so they never bothered to learn them and consequently never bothered to pas them on correctly. the good news is. i still love you. 

  25. barry

      also, is my dick supposed to get hard when you call yourself mama?

  26. ryder collins

      that is a question you gots to answer yourself; though haters gotta hate & mama loves you sincerelys.

  27. ryder collins

      p.s. cos mama does not know your sexual orientation or where you at on the oedipal trajectory; if you knew anything about mama, you’d know mama’s only afraid of the flaccids, yo…

  28. Michael

      The only rule for semicolon usage is that you form an independent clause after the semicolon. An exception can be made for creating long lists and using semicolons instead of commas to separate the items.

  29. William VanDenBerg

      Werdfert might be making some sort of “meta-sincerity” joke, i.e., I am being insincere in stating the sincerity doesn’t exist on the internet, yip yip, yeah yeah, hooray for the internet.

  30. Guest

      “who needs gatekeepers/peoples to dictate aesthetics?”


  31. Leapsloth14

      I call no way/bullshit concerning one top list: Wigleaf top 50. Every single flash in every magazine (well over a 100 online mags) IS read.

  32. Leapsloth14

      How many semicolons did Vonnegut use in his writing life?


  33. ryder collins

      your point is?

  34. werdfert

      i can’t tell if i was being sincere about insincerity or not. i’ve noticed most people can’t tell when you’re being sarcastic in comments, thus the birth of ;) denotations. sarcasm emoticons.