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Sitting on His Throne (photo by Steve Jurvetson)

Sitting on His Throne, Jeff Bezos.
(photo by Steve Jurvetson)

Whale, whale, whale. It’s about time we’re off to set sail for these final four weeks of the semester. Time for passive aggressively getting mad at inanimate objects and articles!

Appetizer:

In other shocking news, Louisiana’s state book may become the Bible.

Alice Munro’s short story ”Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” has been made into a film starring Kristen Wiig which will be released somewhere in the near future. NPR has a great article accompanying the trailer, discussing white space in writing.

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Posted on Apr 4, 2014

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6a00e553adf4d5883401053603c4ad970c-800wiDespite your love-hate relationship with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, it’s hard to go through a day’s writing and ponder whether or not you’re using the Oxford comma correctly, or, if you would like to use it at all. (You should.) Do you cringe at incorrect usage? Scoff at typos in published works? Roll your eyes scrolling through asinine comments, articles, and blog posts from  people who all have an opinion that matters to the rest of the world? Consider on which sites you turn to for credible, resourceful, and thought provoking news, as well as the ones you seek for pleasure. Yes, here in the “high culture” of literature and all things books, we tend to have a tight hooked nose we like to look down, especially on those who like to use the terms “amazeballs” and “I can’t” repeatedly in a post.

So let’s pose the question early on: Do you think it’s reputable for large well-known sites to use colloquial Internet slang? Or is it hindering their purpose as news sources? On one hand, we all can see “lol” at the end of a Buzzfeed article and hardly notice it, but if it’s on The New York TimesBook Forum, or even The Millions, perhaps we’d think, “Really?”

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Posted on Apr 4, 2014

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Enough with the jokes, perhaps. Kidding, kidding.

Five weeks left to keep hacking it. Are you ready? Are you sick of the semester? Hey, it’s sunny out here today in Chicago. And let it be known, it’s a nice break from this long winter. It feels like it’s been one extended month of cold. Enough about the weather, we’ve got some great reading lined up for you.

 

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Boris Pasternak, Courtesy of HAROLD K. MILKS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Appetizer:

Getting tired of writing your novel? Here’s some inspiration: excerpts from the ALA’s shortlist titles for Andrew Carnegie Medals of Excellence.

Steinbeck’s thirteen best published works, as told by Publisher’s Weekly.

Here’s a great video on editing from self-published author, Polly Courtney. The clock’s ticking.

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Posted on Apr 4, 2014

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We’re happy to announce that Amazon’s literary magazine Day One is now accepting submissions! So get on ye! But, in all serious, here’s the low-down for all you chumps. The trick is, which of these was actually posted in the aforementioned “seriousness?”

Sleeping at Work Appetizer:

How much sleep do you get? Do you have a certain cycle yet? These writers did/do.

Editors edit? How preposterous!

Look, you’ve had a rough semester. You need some advice. Who better to turn to than Vonnegut?

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Posted on Apr 4, 2014

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Stuart Dybek gave a talk at the Harold Washington Library two Monday nights ago now, and someone asked him how he put metaphors into his work. This lead to him saying, “I try to create work where the writing is smarter than I am.” From there, it went on to Dybek discussing the long-lasting work of Melville and Shakespeare. To paraphrase, and to add my own interoperation into all of this, is that people find their own meanings. Depending on who they are, they’ll take away more, or less. Dybek mentioned that a well-read reader, is a very different creature than a writer, and a movie-goer. Which then led me to wondering, “How many libraries, bookstores, and movie duplexes are there in the US?” and, “Considering Hollywood makes a at least three-million dump trucks more money than your local libraries and beloved bookstores, no wonder this literary community we’ve been introduced to is so small.

Credit: The Real Chicago Online

Credit: The Real Chicago Online

Your average movie-goer probably hears about the “best-sellers” from the NY publishers via social media, The New York Times, possibly People Magazine, O Magazine, and all around better marketing schemes that are better paid for because there’s more money to lend around than the indie presses we love so dearly. (more…)

Posted on Apr 4, 2014

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Categories: Blog 19 Comments

We’re in the middle of a busy Story Week, folks. Yesterday was the 10th Anniversary release and reading for the Pub Lab’s Story Week Reader, and boy, was it a fun one. Thank you to all the readers, writer, and audience that participated in all of this, and to fellow editors! We couldn’t have done it without all of you.

Appetizer:

The Oxford Comma explained. Boom, now you have to use it. No excuses.

Vintage Books is now after rights for novels and authors whose work made the big screen?

Sorbetto:

Another great podcast from last April  over at The New Yorker. Margaret Atwood reading Mavis Gallant’s “Voices Lost in Snow.”

Main Course:

A meditative essay by Zadie Smith, “Elegy for a Country’s Season.”

metamorphosis front final 4.inddLooking for something better than the small bedroom and hissing lead-chipping painted radiator? Sarah Cox, co-founder of Write-A-House, runs her organization that fixes up houses, and gives them to writers.

Would you give up your smartphone? What would it feel like to walk around without having up-to-the-minute notifications, texts, connection to social media? To not be bombarded by sounds other than the city and the people around you. Try it for a day. It’s relieving.

A review of William H. Gass’ On Being Blue, recently reprinted. “On Being Blue — for its musicality and penchant for description — begs to be read aloud, the way monks might take to their text by a fire. Words are candy, sweet treats to be shared and heard by all living beings. Big words, not so big words, the sound they make, their rhythm, the way they flow from willing lips and give life, like Genesis. ”

Was Gregor Samsa in the military? Was he supposed to be a drone operator? More on this over at the LA Review of Books.

Demitasse:

The GOP is against Amtrak Residency, too.

 

Posted on Mar 3, 2014

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Well, not entirely all caps. BUT WE’RE EXCITED ABOUT STORY WEEK NEXT WEEK. Enough, enough. Lots of interviews for you all this week. Enjoy.

Jane-Austen-Writing-DeskAppetizer:

An interview with  Dalkey Press founder and publisher John O’Brien, over at Late Night Library. Here’s a little gem from his responses, “One of my pleasures in reading a book is being confused by it. That I don’t know what my bearings are, that I don’t know quite how to read it yet. That’s interesting to me.”

The Publishing Lab has a new feature: Pick of the Month. Full of juicy tidbits, a market, and submission advice to get you back on track for sending out those stories you’ve been holding on to for dear life. (Pst, time to let them go.)

Ever wondered how many times a billion books would wrap around the earth?

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Posted on Mar 3, 2014

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You’d like to get a book published. Start standing in line, and please, don’t forget to take a number.

At times, hell it’s all the time, it is discouraging to think of the quantity of writers who are a rung closer on the ladder to publication. Big names, debut names, mid list names. As we all know, whether or not these authors are wholeheartedly “good writers” doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s what sells, no?

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Posted on Mar 3, 2014

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Oh dear. It’s that time of the week again, isn’t it? You betcha! We hope you’re hungry, there’s a whole buffet for you to read.

Need a book to read (and review)? A Beautiful Truth by Colin McAdam has received praise for its haunting tale of empathy, honesty, and look into the psyche of complex relationships. Looee, a chimpanzee, was adopted by the Ribkes, a childless couple living in Vermont in the 1970s. As he matures, Looee’s attachment to his surrogate mother grows, and anyone coming into contact with her sends him in disarray. Juxtaposed with the stories of other apes in a Florida research facility, weaving together haunting tale of human contact. McAdam spent a good deal of time researching for his third novel, which you can read about on Salon.

“Weighty themes underlie McAdam’s spartan prose depicting the inner lives of research chimps. McAdam delivers a though-provoking foray inot the not-so-dissimilar minds of our ape relatives.” Publishers Weekly

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Posted on Mar 3, 2014

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A week and a day late for the newest Palate Cleanser? How dare she! No use making excuses, but as you know, there’s a lot of reading to do. So, there. We’d like to offer you a smorgasbord this week. Gorge yourselves, friends.

Since Story Week is right around the corner (a little less than a month, actually), let’s give you a little taste of what you’re going to be seeing. There’s a lovely little schedule for you*, if you’d like to check that out.

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Posted on Feb 2, 2014

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