June 28th, 2011 / 2:00 pm

Here Are Some More Things

When Poetry received that $200 million endowment from Ruth Lilly, I wondered what they would do with that money and how they could possibly handle such a massive gift. The Chicago Tribune has an article discussing what has happened since “the money arrived.”

A while back, Christopher Higgs posted about some bookstores he visited in Chicago and a pretty intense discussion followed about independent bookstores and business models and the like. This recent New York Times article about how independent bookstores are now trying to capitalize on author events, is an interesting follow up to that conversation (via Jac Jemc). I don’t think I would pay to attend an author event but I do try to buy a book when I do attend readings.

At The Awl, five writers talk about the tensions of book titles. It’s surprising how often writers have to change their book titles. I guess the moral of the story is to not get attached to that name you call your book.

A lot of people are sharing this article but it’s worth another mention. Jose Antonio Vargas writes, for New York Times Magazine, about his life as an undocumented immigrant.

Some writers offer practical tips on writing a book.

Everything here is worth a look.

If you’re into Harry Potter, there’s going to be a magical website called Pottermore where you can buy an invisibility cloak and tickets for that one special train to go to Hogwarts and fans can write within the Harry Potter universe even though that has been happing since the nascence of the books anyway. Harry Potter e-books will also be sold. Wingardium Leviosa!

Aaron Burch mentioned Grantland on Facebook so I checked it out and I am really enjoying the site. There’s all kinds of interesting writing, not only about sports. He has a great write up on Hobart’s new Tumblr.

Over at The Rumpus, Elissa Bassist interviewed writer and sex-positive feminist Susie Bright. The interview is also well worth the read.

Maud Newton interviews Kate Christensen for The Awl. The phrase “inner dick,” is used and that’s just one of many highlights.


  1. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      I’m all for a five dollar charge for a reading/meet the author thing. Moreso for a reading, simply because the big-time reading events I’ve gone to only provide one way to support the author, which is shell out twenty bucks for a clunky hardcover. This is an issue when you are poor and would rather split a copy among four freinds, or go to the library. Five bucks is a good number too. It’s affordable, and I think people would be more interested in checking out a reading if they knew they could support a writer without having to ask for an autograph.

  2. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Look at me and my inability to spell the word “friends.”

  3. Trey

      the article on poetry magazine is pretty interesting. but there’s a part where it’s mentioned that Wiman wanted to make poetry magazine like “part of the conversation” or something, says something like he wanted people to feel like if the missed an issue they were missing out on the contemporary poetry “conversation”. I think he failed at that. if he succeeded in any way I would guess that he succeeded in setting poetry magazine up to be thought of by the layman as like *the* conversation on poetry. not that it’s happening in lots of places and poetry magazine is part of that, but that poetry magazine is the only place for it. which of course is silly, but it’s not a hard notion to cultivate. I mean, it’s called *Poetry*.

      but still, it’s lame and sort of lets people do this obnoxious thing. this obnoxious thing that I suspect the chief legal counsel for Exxon Mobil (mentioned in the article as a “longtime subscriber” who will be writing for their A View From Here column) is doing. The thing is when the layman who wants to seem artistic subscribes to Poetry and then is like, “Done.” I bet the chief legal counsel for Exxon Mobil gets home once a week to find Poetry on his counter and he’s like “Yeah, I’m artsy. I’m well-rounded. I know what’s going on with poetry these days.”

      I guess I’m being an asshole. I guess I should be like, “Hey, normal people subscribing to a lit mag, that’s great.” But I don’t feel like that. I feel like Poetry magazine is rarely interesting so who cares.

  4. Leapsloth14

      A fucking $1.2 million website!!

  5. Leapsloth14

      Does the Tribune always embed that many ads? Makes online reading impossible.

  6. stephen

      Vive Poetry magazine

      I h8 the covers of those books featured in the Awl article. I wouldn’t want a publisher to make me change the name of my book unless I liked their title better. I think it would be dumb and maybe misguided to think changing the name would sell more copies unless you’re publishing a beach book/non-fiction book.

  7. alan

      Does the author get a cut of the door charge?

      Readings are ads for buying books. Autographs are a scheme to render purchased books non-returnable. Who pays for ads?

  8. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Yeah I’d definitely say an author gets a cut of the charge. I’m thinking the same model as a show at a small music venue.

      Well, Idunno if readings are entirely ads. Wouldn’t that be the same as saying any performance is an ad? A stand up comedian goes on stage, a band goes on stage, they do something that they hope will make you want to buy their merchandise, right? Isn’t that the same thing with a reading?

      Now, if you are suggesting that readings are ads because most readings are bland and flat, then it’s up to the author to make it a little more worthwhile than “Shake hands with some schmuck.”

  9. alan

      No, man, read the article. This one dude is like, “Who would the money go to? Not to the author? That’s terrible.”

      It is terrible for the author, narrowing the audience for his or her sales pitch, er, reading.

  10. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Shit. That IS terrible. (I’m not going to read the article, but I will take your word for it!)

      Anyway I’d still be in support of charging for readings if a reasonable portion of the cash went to the author. Why shouldn’t readings adopt the business model of other live performances? I really don’t think a reasonable entrance fee would deter people. I think people would like to know their money was going to support a writer. As stupid as it sounds, I think money helps legitimize things. on occasion!

  11. c2k

      I like Kate Christensen, her writing, her ideas. But when I read Epicure’s Lament, I thought the whole time, This main character is a woman (being written as a man). The artifice never went away for me. Just one reader, of course. Curious re other views on this, particularly Roxane Gay’s if possible, plus opinions on her other novels.

  12. Anonymous


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