What makes a sentence sad? At The Missouri Review blog, Aaron Gilbreath explores just why certain sentences are depressing — from A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner to James Joyce’s “Eveline.” “Their emotional impact doesn’t stem solely from the combination of words. The impact often results from the circumstances of readers’ lives.” Pair with: Sam Martone’s metafictional short story about his grandmothers’ deaths, “A Second Attempt,” at Pithead Chapel.
Recommended Reading: Dean Young’s poem “Why I Haven’t ‘Outgrown Surrealism,’ No Matter What That Moron Reviewer Wrote” for Plume.
“I believe that fiction can help, and if that’s what makes me inevitably a genre writer, that’s okay,” John Green said in a speech at Kenyon College about why we should make art, genre fiction, and bad college hook up experiences. Bonus: Here are Green’s 18 books you probably haven’t read.
From icy Philadelphia, some links to start the day:The latest round at the LBC is over, but we’ve posted our nominees for the next round. Read the books now so you can discuss them with us in a month or so. I was a nominator this round and my pick is The Cottagers by Marshall N. Klimasewiski.An Ask Metafilter thread on books by women for men who don’t like books by women. Lots of good recommendations… Might do a separate “booklist” post here at some point compiling all those suggestions.Dan Wickett’s Dzanc Books has two more titles on the way, one by Yannick Murphy who wrote LBC nominee Here They Come and one by Wickett fave Peter Markus (who he mentioned in his 2006 best of here at The Millions.)Combining Garfield and reference books seems like a bad idea. Note: A groundbreaking work in that it is the “1st dictionary with attitude” (via)
“Every story that works gets the level of description that it needs. Which isn’t to say that the level of description needed for every successful story is the same.” Tobias Carroll surveys the wide variety of detail density in fiction for Electric Literature.
“What matters is you, all alone at your desk at five in the morning.” We’ve come a long way from Dear Abby and Ann Landers, says Megan Marz in an essay for The Point, in which she looks at a younger generation of columnists that includes Cheryl Strayed, Heather Havrilesky, and Kristen Dombek. And speaking of advice! Have you checked out our new writing-advice counselors Swarm and Spark? No? Well then hie yourself to their column already!