The latest in virtual author appearances, an especially useful option for literary venues in the snowy midwest during winter: Hannah Tinti on Skype (audio and video) in Minneapolis via the Magers & Quinn “Books & Bars” Book Club series.
"When I want to be ambushed, captured, thrust into a strange and vivid world, and tossed aloft until I cannot stand it, until everything is at stake and life feels almost unbearably vivid, I do something simple. I read short stories." Electric Literature has posted Ben Marcus's "paean to the contemporary American short story," which doubles as the introduction to New American Stories and does a pretty good job of capturing just what it is we love about reading fiction.
At Flavorwire Jonathan Sturgeon considers what we've learned from Dubliners in the hundred years since it was first published and argues that "when it comes to realism, Dubliners, more than even Chekhov’s short fiction, is the model we routinely fail to live up to." Sturgeon's reflections on Joyce's free indirect discourse pair well with Jonathan Russell Clark's Millions essay on close writing, and his essay isn't completely without hope: he concludes with a few books that, "on the surface, look nothing like Dubliners, but, in spirit... show that Joyce’s book still lives 100 years on."
Recommended Reading: The selected letters of William S. Burroughs at The Paris Review Daily. Read his correspondences with family and writers Allen Ginsberg and Norman Mailer. Pair with Jonathan Clarke’s article on why an author’s biography will never be more important than their writing.
Want a write a great short story? Here's a chance to learn from MacArthur Fellow, New Yorker "20 Under 40" writer, and Year in Reading alum Yiyun Li. Her new 45-minute Skillshare class, Writing Character-Driven Short Stories, is now available and included with Skillshare membership ($10 per month). Better yet: the first 50 readers of The Millions to click here can sign up for free.
"It makes you think you are just about to write, for once, something brilliant." Everyone knows that Moleskines don't really affect your writing, but they nevertheless represent a kind of literary standard. As we step into the future and doodling goes digital, will products like electronic writing tablets put the leather-bound versions out of business? Somewhere Hemingway is turning in his grave.