Leaving money on the table

If you’re related to me, don’t read the rest of this sentence: I got most of the people in my family books this year for Christmas. I don’t usually do that, actually. For a writer, it seems rather hazardous. Because, for one thing, though I love my family and I want them to be happy, I’m not going to intentionally purchase things that I consider truly shitty on their behalf. But on the other hand I’m not going to go out and buy them, say, the FC2 catalogue just because I happen to like it; that would be a Real Dick Move. But even once I’ve negotiated that mess and found the place where my tastes and those of a given family member overlap, there’s still the risk that you’re essentially giving someone homework for Christmas. The fact that I want to read a book someday has nothing at all to do with whether or not I want to read it now. By giving someone a book, you either rob them of that decision or, more likely, give them something that they’re going to feel guilty about for several months (or even years) but likely never actually read. But this post isn’t about giving books for Christmas, really. It’s about ebook pricing. READ MORE >

Presses / 49 Comments
December 21st, 2011 / 6:21 pm

I love Jonathan Baumbach. Who doesn’t? Dzanc is rEprinting all his books.

As well, a couple book-related holiday sales ending today: Powell’s offers free shipping (their used stacks in particular are worth exploring, plus nice discount on NYRB classics) & Keyhole‘s discounts on all of their titles & (beyond today, but still) Dzanc offering up to 50% on all of their backlist. Foom.

Matt Bell, Matthew Derby & the Best of the Web

Did everyone else already know that Matt Bell is going to be the series editor for Dzanc’s Best of the Web series, beginning with the 2010 book? I didn’t, but aren’t I glad to know it now? Yes. Anyway, I learned this information in a note Matt posted to facebook about also-Matt Matthew Derby, whose story “January in December” from Guernica will be anthologized in BotW2009, edited by Lee K. Abbott. (Disclosure/chest-beating: I am a proud alum of the BotW series; my story “The Jealousy of Angels” appeared in the 2008 edition, which was edited by Steve Almond.) After the jump, MB’s full facebook post: his explanation of what BotW is, his introduction of Derby, and then a long guest-post by Derby himself about the writing of “January in December.”


Author News & Author Spotlight & Presses & Web Hype / 4 Comments
July 21st, 2009 / 8:35 am

What are the 50 best poems on the web?

poetry-sucksThe Dzanc Best of the Web is awesome and the Wigleaf thing is awesome and John Madera’s novella list is awesome but does poetry get short-shrift when it comes to these best-of lists? Is there a list for poetry? I can’t remember.

In case there isn’t, put your favorite poems from last year in the comments.

Random / 90 Comments
May 7th, 2009 / 2:10 pm

Tim Jones-Yelvington Reviews Dzanc’s Creative Writing Sessions

dcwslogoA few weeks ago, Dzanc books announced that they’d started a new program called the Dzanc Books Creative Writing Sessions. There was a lot of coverage of this announcement for about a week, and then news fell off. For a while, I didn’t read anything about the program, how it was doing, what it was like, etc., so when I saw that Tim had posted on his blog that he’d signed up for it, and because he’s a regular reader around here, I thought I’d ask for his thoughts.


Presses & Web Hype / 16 Comments
May 1st, 2009 / 12:39 pm

Word Spaces(4): Laura van den Berg

I met Laura van den Berg at AWP one year. She had written something nice on a rejection note to me after I sent something to Redivider a while ago, and so I tracked her down and said hello. Since then we’ve been in touch, seen each other around, though she’s a bit busier than I – she’s on staff at PloughsharesMemorious, and West Branch, and she has a book of stories called What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us forthcoming from Dzanc this November. A recent story of hers can be read online at the Boston Review site.

Anyhow, I thought it would be interesting to see where she gets her work done (and then somehow exactly recreate it in my own apartment).


Here’s what Laura has to say:

My workspace is in the kitchen of a house in North Carolina, where I’ve been living with my boyfriend since September. My computer is set up on the kitchen/dining table, near a kind of big bay window. I love windows. I have wanted all my writing life to have a workspace with lots of windows. Since our town, Blowing Rock, is up in the mountains, there’s crazy fog sometimes—fog so thick I can’t see the shapes of the trees or the car in the driveway. It’s beautiful and eerie and I love it.

On the wall behind my chair, I’ve taped up postcards, pictures, Obama paraphernalia, and a map of Boston, where I used to live. On one side of my computer, there’s a basket that my brother brought back from Morocco, a mug/pen holder, a picture, and shoeboxes, which I’m using to store random office supplies. On the other side, I have phones, my planner, and a box of notecards that say “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.” To the right of my chair, there’s a little table, where I keep some books—right now, it’s Amy Hempel, Joy Williams, Alice Munro, Diane Williams, Kyle Minor, Deb Olin Unferth, Allison Amend. Also: lit mags; a photo book of Borneo, where I was going to set a novel; my notebook; a story I’m revising; a box of cards from the Met; a newspaper article on Darwin and Russell Wallace; Poets & Writers; another shoebox full of office supplies. The Joy Williams book I have here—The Quick and the Dead—is one of my favorite books of all times. Sometimes I open to a random page and read a paragraph and I’m always floored. Page 155, for example: “The television was on again. A startled bull with a ring through its immense nostrils stood in a river. Piranha swirled about. The bull turned gray like a block of chalk, then transparent, and then it was a skeleton, floating away.”

A set of headphones are nearby, in the basket, since I usually listen to music while working. I have somewhat schizophrenic taste in music—lately it’s been New Order, Postal Service, Sam Phillips, Jane’s Addiction, and David Bowie. My desk can be a little schizophrenic too—especially now, since I’m still unpacking from a long trip and have lots of little things that I don’t have good places for. There’s a lot of stacking going on. Pretty soon, we’re going to have to think about eating dinner elsewhere.

Thanks, Laura, for sharing.

Word Spaces / 21 Comments
January 7th, 2009 / 3:25 pm

Dzanc Half-off Holiday Sale

From Dzanc:

Based on a True Story
Based on a True Story

Hesh Kestin

Best of the Web 2008
Best of the Web 2008

Steve Almond
Nathan Leslie

Gifts and Clothing

In a Bear's Eye
In a Bear’s Eye

Yannick Murphy

All Over
All Over

Roy Kesey
Gifts and Clothing

Unending Rooms
Unending Rooms

Daniel Chacón
Black Lawrence Press

While in Darkness There is Light

Louella Bryant
Black Lawrence Press
Temporary People
Temporary People

Steven Gillis
Black Lawrence Press
The Last Game We Played

Jo Neace Krause
Black Lawrence Press
Signs of Life

Norman Waksler
Black Lawrence Press


Issue Five


Issue Four
Things That Pass for Love
Allison Amend
OV Books
Presses / 34 Comments
December 5th, 2008 / 7:05 pm