Month: September 2014

Literary Links

The sleeping habits of geniuses: Thank goodness.  Apparently many of them did sleep 7 to 8 hours a night.

How to enrage a writer.  I would have added, “Of course you can make money.  Just be like J.K. Rowling” to the list.

A moving review of Marina Keegan’s book

A hilarious review of Dan Brown’s Inferno

An English professor’s highly thoughtful blog on the short story

The Millions, one of my favorite places to read literary news

The Millions’s list of difficult books

Related: An online guide to Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada, a massive, highly challenging novel that I should read again

A new recognition for second novels

Rejection wiki: where writers can find out whether rejections were form, tiered, or personal.  (Tell a non-writer about this, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy).

The New Yorker writes about the myth of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the (in my opinion, aggravating) spate of Zelda novels that have come out recently.

A fascinating New Yorker profile of John Green

Raven Book Store

Raven Book Store in Harvard Square is my favorite place to buy used books.  Whenever I’m in there, I wish I could buy them all.  Today I needed to get a new copy of The Great Gatsby, having lost mine.  The only one they had on the shelf was this:


The guy at the cash register took one look at it and said, “Oh, the movie one.  Usually we don’t carry these.”  That was kind of awesome.  I love Raven!


Someone has actually made an old-school Great Gatsby video game.

(Warning: Highly addictive.  And surprisingly challenging.  Watch out for the drunken revelers, and the evil eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg!)



Like everyone else, I definitely spend too much time reading stuff on the internet.  One of my goals is to stop doing this.  However, there are occasionally things that are worth reading.  Here is a collection to prove that not all was a waste:

-Rebecca Makkai is not only a great short story writer, she also writes hilarious posts for the Ploughshares blog.  Here are a few:

Writer Nightmares

Amateur Author Spotting

An MFA For the Rest of Us

-This was an interesting review of Stuart Dybek’s latest collection and the state of MFA fiction

-An uplifting essay on how classical musicians are innovating to find new audiences and performance space

-Finally read this great essay by George Orwell today: Why I Write

-A piece on whether or not The Goldfinch counts as “Literature.”  I haven’t read it yet, but I tend to agree with one of the comments: “If a book sells a million copies and wins the Pulitzer Prize, who cares what the critics think?”

Flash Fiction

Some novelists write short stories to take a break from their novels.  I haven’t written any novels yet (though one is hopefully in the works soon…), so, in an equivalent move this summer, I wrote some flash fiction to take a break from my stories.

Some people have asked me what flash fiction is.  Usually it’s defined as a story shorter than 1,000 words, although some flash fiction sites demand less than 500.  The genre seems to have gained a lot of popularity in this age of sound bytes and short attention spans.  I don’t enjoy writing flash fiction as much as stories, but there is something gratifying about finishing a discrete piece of writing, and finishing it quickly.  You can write a flash in one or two days, whereas a story can take months.

So perhaps it’s exciting to say that my first piece of flash fiction has been accepted by Apocrypha and Abstractions, a review dedicated to stories under 500 words.  The piece, which is sort of odd–I think of it as a dark humor piece–will come out in March 2015.