Stop by the stately Mercantile Library at 7 p.m., where the literary magazine [sic] will be hosting a party. I’ll be reading from, and signing copies of, A Field Guide to the North American Family, and the illustrious Diane Williams, editor of NOON and author of Excitability, among other titles, will be reading from her new book, It Was Like My Trying to Have a Tender-Hearted Nature. The Merc is located at 17 E 47th Street, between Fifth and Madison Avenues. I’d love to see you there.
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.
I'm teaching another eight-week Short Fiction Workshop, which will begin March 12, 2009. This course differs from previous ones in that, aside from our examinations of published short fiction, we will also be reading nonfiction writing about writing (so far I've got Annie Dillard, Italo Calvino and Lewis Hyde on the list - with possible inclusion of Lynda Barry, Rick Bass, and Gary Lutz). These won't be how-to discussions, but, rather, meditations on, among other things, what writing is like, both when it's going well and when it's going poorly (Dillard), and what it means to be an artist in this contemporary world (Hyde). I'm curious where discussions of these texts will take us. What you might suggest for this kind of syllabus?Here's the official course description and my nifty bio.If you're interested in the class, email me at [email protected]And...check out the new website!Short Fiction Workshop Spring 20098 Thursdays, 03/12/2009 to 05/07/2009 (no class 04/02/2009) 7:30-9:30 pm$340 for new students; $310 for returning studentsEnrollment limit: 8 StudentsFor the first four weeks of this eight week course, we will do in-class writing exercises and discuss published short fiction from a craft perspective. We will also read and discuss essays about writing and the writing life by such authors as Annie Dillard, Italo Calvino, and Lewis Hyde. For the final four weeks of the course we will workshop student work in a serious environment meant to challenge and inspire every member of the class. Each student will have the opportunity to workshop one short story manuscript.For more information, go here.About the Instructor:Edan Lepucki has an M.F.A from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her short fiction has been published in Meridian, the Los Angeles Times, CutBank, Narrative Magazine, Avery, and the Los Angeles Review. She has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Oberlin College, the Gotham Writers' Workshop, and for Vroman's Bookstore's Education Program. She is currently at work on a novel.
Join us in welcoming our newest regular contributor at The Millions:Anne K. Yoder is a writer living in Brooklyn. She is the former books editor of KGB Bar Lit, and her writing has appeared in Tin House, BlackBook, and PopMatters. She moonlights as a pharmacist in the West Village.You may remember the two pieces Anne penned for us recently. Her next offering will be up shortly.
Our ambivalence about the Kindle has been on full display of late. Still, when Amazon recently opened up its Kindle blog subscription program to all blogs it seemed worth trying, if only to satiate our curiosity about what it entails.With The Millions freely available for all readers, its hard to imagine why someone might be compelled to pay $1.99 to subscribe just to be able to read it on the Kindle, but now you have the option. (We only get 30%, which, as TechCrunch points out, is rather paltry.) If anyone tries subscribing, let us know. We'd be interested to hear how the experience is.Update: TechCrunch discovers a huge, embarrassing flaw in Amazon's Kindle Publishing for Blogs Beta, that allows you to steal other people's blogs and charge readers for them. Wow, that's bad.
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