As you’ve probably noticed from the new byline attached to the review of Richard Ford’s The Lay of the Land that I posted earlier today, we’ve been joined by a new contributor at The Millions. Noah is an old friend of mine whose book reviews have appeared in a handful of publications, and I’m glad to have him aboard.
The Millions notched its fourth anniversary this weekend, and I’m very pleased that the site is still going strong and more popular than ever. As much as I’d like to take full credit for this, much of it should go to my contributors who really stepped it up last year and who since the redesign at the beginning of this year have, in a few short months, really taken the site to another level.I should also thank the readers of The Millions whose participation in the comments and whose emails to me help make working on the site a tremendously fulfilling endeavor. In fact, just peeking at the site’s stats and seeing how many regular readers we have makes me feel very grateful to know that so many readers appreciate what we’re doing here.And what is it that we’re doing here? As ever, The Millions and its fellow book blogs continue to evolve. One of the most interesting developments over the last year is how several bloggers have become regular fixtures in newspaper book sections across the country. Some of these folks were critics before they were bloggers, but some, like Ed, began down that path with their blogs. Even as blogs have been increasingly accepted as legitimate voices contributing to the greater literary discourse, there are still those who question their value and accuse them of cliquishness and worse. Hopefully, though, book blogs will continue to matter enough to enough people that they will continue to be targeted by such attacks. I’d rather The Millions be criticized than irrelevant.The Millions, of course, has never been particularly controversial. Fomenting arguments has never been a big part of the site’s mission, as much fun as it to sometimes get involved in those battles. The mission of this blog is to act much like your favorite independent bookstore might. As I’ve written before, “one should be able to walk into [a good] bookstore and be able to grasp, based upon which books are on display and based upon conversations with staff and fellow customers, what matters at that moment both in the wider world and in the neighborhood.” I hope that when people “walk into” The Millions they get that same feeling from those of us who write the posts and from their fellow readers who leave comments.Deeper than that, at the very core of The Millions, is that we should seek out good books to read and pass them along to like-minded friends. As I wrote nearly four years ago when I decided that the site needed a manifesto to give the then bumbling proto-Millions some shape, “this isn’t about compulsory reading; this is about making sure that whatever you read will serve a purpose for you and that, as often as possible, this purpose is to bring you the curious sort of joy that only a book can.” There’s more there too.All of which is to say, I hope The Millions still feels relevant and worthwhile amid the millions of blogs that crowd the Internet. To me, our mission is still worth pursuing. Thanks again to all of you for another great year. Let’s have another.Previously: An Historic Day; The Millions Turns Two; Thanks for Three Years from The Millions.
Millions headquarters moved last weekend. We only went a few blocks, so it was far less trying than some of our past efforts (though being first time homeowners has brought its own set of challenges.) Long time readers of The Millions may demarcate the “chapters” of the blog by the various moves I have made over the last four and a half years. There was Los Angeles to DC, DC to Chicago, Chicago to DC, and DC to Philly. After almost a year in Philly, I’m happy to say that we’re enjoying it. We’ve got friends in walking distance, friendly neighbors, and then there’s the food. Right now, we live about two blocks up from the north end of the Italian Market, a many blocks long stretch of meat and cheese shops, butchers, spice shops, and other purveyors of goodness. On the sidewalks, hawkers sell produce from stalls. The atmosphere is gritty and raucous most days. There’s lots of other things to like in Philly too – the usual urban lifestyle perks, good restaurants, art, and music.Meanwhile, inside the house, the books are still in boxes, but they’ll soon be out (all of them!) ensconced on new bookshelves conceived of and constructed by Mrs. Millions and her dad. There’s a lot to do here in Philly, but the books should make for good company on the days we stay home.Housekeeping Note: Publishers, if you’ve got me on a mailing list and need my new address, email me and I’ll get it to you.
The Millions is excited to be a founding member of a new ad venture called The Staff Recommends, John Warner and Andrew Womack, both of whom are associated with The Morning News and its wonderful Tournament of Books are behind the effort. The Staff Recommends is unique in that it only features books that “pass muster” with Warner, the venture’s editor and ombudsman. The first selection can be seen at the end of our “Recent Articles” section on The Millions front page and also in the sidebar on article pages. Enjoy!
Sorry things have been quiet around here. I’m heading to Washington, DC, for the weekend to attend my brother’s college graduation. As luck would have it, Book Expo is being held in the city this year, so my plan is to stop in and check things out. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in a few dispatches about the goings on at the year’s biggest book event. If you happen to be in town, feel free to stop by the LBC party, the details of which are contained within the image below.In the meantime, things will be mostly quiet around here. Also, if anyone would like to add more recommendations to the list WWII books in the comments of my last post, that would be awesome. I’m loving the suggestions so far and thinking about doing a standalone post on the recommendations next week.
The Millions (virtual) back office is looking for some help again. The site continues to grow, and that means we have an opportunity to add two more book-loving people to our team.
We are looking for someone who can help us with a few specific things. The new Millions intern will contribute to our “Curiosities” link blog and will help man (or wo-man) our Twitter feed, Facebook page, and Tumblr. Through those avenues, the interns we seek will have an audience of hundreds of thousands and will be introducing The Millions to new readers every day.
In return for a very modest time commitment, our interns will also join a great group of creative thinkers and have the opportunity to get their work edited by the working writers among us and potentially see their pieces published at The Millions. As is the case with our crew of regulars, our intern will be compensated for the pieces he or she publishes on the site. Several past interns have also transitioned into other roles on our staff.
Here’s what we’re looking for:
A voracious reader – Our ideal candidate will be well-read and have a solid knowledge of contemporary fiction.
A social media superstar – Again, Twitter, Facebook, (Tumblr, blogging, etc.)
Experience with WordPress is a huge bonus.
Experience with Photoshop would be enticing, but is by no means required.
More details: This isn’t going to be anything close to a full-time gig. We’re thinking 5-10 hours a week realistically, plus as much time as you want to spend writing for us. We think the internship would be a great fit for a college or grad student, but are certainly open to hearing from non-students of any age whose schedules will allow them to do this. We’re looking for a one-year commitment, though we can be flexible on the duration. The Millions has no dedicated office, so this is a remote position and can be done from anywhere in the world.
The position is unpaid, but any long-form pieces that you write for the site and are approved for publication will be compensated using the same system we use to compensate our regular writers. And there will most probably be some free books here and there and also opportunities to attend interesting literary events.
Why should you do this? The Millions is read by hundreds of thousands of people every month. Our readership is a laundry list of influential, brilliant folks in the publishing and media industries as well as in academia, not to mention the most engaged, avid readers of literary work that you’ll find anywhere. Aside from learning about how a site like The Millions operates, you’ll have an opportunity to write for all these people, and you’ll get experience running a Twitter account with 230,000 followers.
How to Apply:
Please send the following to [email protected]
Three sample Curiosities, using the format we use on the site
If applicable and you are willing to share, we would like to see the following: Twitter account(s) you use; any Facebook pages you’ve had the opportunity to run for schools, publications, companies, etc.; your Tumblr(s) (Essentially, show us that you have experience using these, even if it’s just your own sparsely followed, but very entertaining Twitter account.)
In addition, show us the other cool stuff you are responsible for online, your blog, etc.
The deadline is (slightly less than) one week from today: end of day 7/29.
We look forward to hearing from you!