Online versus print

Here’s another article on the importance of emerging online literary journals. The article mentions the excellent Absinthe Literary Review, Jacket, Tatlin’s Tower, and Sweet Fancy Moses. (Thanks to Ed for this link, too.)

On edit: I didn’t mention that the article incorrectly says that Exquisite Corpse is out of business. I was kind of assuming that all of you read Exquisite Corpse and knew that already, but it’s worth mentioning just in case.

Peace negotiations

Yesterday Israel explicitly recognized the Palestinian right to statehood. Prime Minister Sharon, usually known for his hawkish tendencies, defended his vote to right-wing Parliament members, saying:

You may not like the word, but what’s happening is occupation. . . . Holding 3.5 million Palestinians is a bad thing for Israel, for the Palestinians and for the Israeli economy. We have to end this subject without risking our security.

More on The Believer

In an article published yesterday, Heidi Julavits calls The Believer a “pro-bono, pull-your-pennies-together real labor of love.” She and the other editors are not getting paid.

In fact, the editors “contributed money for the magazine’s start-up costs, and McSweeney’s provided publishing and distribution services, Julavits said.”

Don Lee, editor of Ploughshares, provided his assessment of the magazine for the article:

It really seems like a utopian literary magazine. This is the sort of thing everyone dreams of — having this quality of staff on board.

(Thanks to Ed for the link.)

Online story in ZAS

The lead story in the current issue of Zoetrope: All-Story, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s “Half of a Yellow Sun,” originally appeared in Literary Potpourri, an excellent online journal.

(For the uninitiated, Zoetrope: All-Story “was recently recognized with five Pushcart Prizes for its 2002 stories, a record for the award’s 28-year history, and a selection for Best American Short Stories.”)

Umbrella story

In response to my umbrella complaints, Matt sends this tidbit:

Last night at the Christopher St. PATH Station (circa 2am) I witnessed this romantic exchange:

Guy: I like your umbrella
Gal: Thanks…it’s an umbrella for one.
Guy: Huh?
Gal: I’m alone…single.
Guy: (speechless)
Gal: How psyched are you?

Shortly thereafter I saw them exchanging phone numbers.

No unhappy endings

This weekend a friend told me that someone she knows was laid off a few months ago from an editor gig with a UK publisher. The job as I understand it focused on women’s writing and the significant market for it.

The laid-off editor told my friend that UK publishers increasingly direct their attentions to promoting books in the marketplace and are less and less interested in the quality of the writing they sell. The assessment is sweeping, I know, but this article about the sorry state of women’s lit in the UK lends credence to it.


Why do the ugliest umbrellas last the longest?

The plain black one I bought last month bit the dust this morning; my favorite red one died over the weekend.

But the purple and black monstrosity that a friend bought on a street corner for $3 while visiting a few years ago is still going strong. It’s the standby for true emergencies.

Oryx and Crake

Margaret Atwood’s latest book, a bio-apocalyptic tale that takes on genetic engineering and emerging viruses, has been generating lots of commentary.

Lorrie Moore referred to it in a recent New Yorker as a “towering and intrepid new novel.” Last week Slate offered a round-up of reviews from Moore and other impressed critics, one of whom said, “what saves Atwood’s nightmare vision from didacticism is her gift for the arresting detail, the little rockslides that augur the avalanche.”

I’m just not convinced. The Handmaid’s Tale, while powerful enough as a parable, was so didactic to my ear that I swore off all Atwood books after reading it. I don’t mind some of her (dark) love poems, though.