For three years I published and co-edited (as fiction editor) an online journal of literature. Lately I’ve been feeling uninvolved in the literary community, and I’m searching for ways to connect. I’m considering relaunching the journal. In the past we published fiction and poetry. If I did decide to relaunch it, I would publish only fiction. My question is this: would you be interested in reading such a journal? Would you submit to such a journal (on the understanding that I couldn’t pay you)? Would you be willing to post about such a journal on your blog? If yes to any of these, would you be willing to donate money (I’m thinking about micro-donations, a dollar here or there), with the understanding that any donations would go exclusively to the hosting bill? Why (or why not—this last question being an addendum to any and all of the above)? Please leave… Continue Reading

MobyLives, Um, Lives!

A couple of years ago I was big, and I mean big into podcasts. I had a job that didn’t require a lot of concentration, and we were allowed, even encouraged, to listen to iPods and CD players and so on while putting in our twelve hours a day (that’s right, twelve). I listened almost exclusively to podcasts, and MobyLives was far and away the best book oriented podcast around. And then one day it disappeared. But before it was a podcast, MobyLives was a blog. And finally, after two years or more on hiatus, it is a blog once more. I’m not sure if anything can live up to expectations I have, thanks to the amazing quality of the podcast, but I have no doubt that the new MobyLives will be a worthy addition to my daily reading, and to yours too. (Thanks to David for the heads up.)

Bookcasts Part Two

Welcome to the second installment of “Bookcasts”, where I give you a brief rundown on the podcasts that I follow. Those that don’t have books as their primary subject matter will be marked with an asterisk. Part one is is here. In Our Time* In Our Time is a long-running BBC Radio programme that’s very much like CBC Radio’s Ideas, although the topics turn more frequently to literary matters (I’m not sure if it’s still up in the archives, but there was an excellent show on Borges a while back). The Good: Even though his pronunciation can be a little idiosyncratic, Melvyn Bragg is a spectacularly good host. He’s well-informed, well-spoken, and he manages to keep the discussion on track so that as much of a given topic can be covered—although it should be noted that the discussion doesn’t ever descend into superficiality. The Bad: Once in a while Bragg… Continue Reading

Bookcasts Part One

I am lucky enough to have a job that lets me work with books. I am doubly lucky in that my job allows me to listen to headphones, and rather than listen to music, I listen to audio books and podcasts, most of them dealing with the subject of books. As this is, of course, a book-related blog, I thought I would share those I listen to with you. Those that only occasionally deal with books (their primary subject matter being something else, or perhaps even simply general interest) will be marked with an asterisk. There are quite a few of them, so I will spread the out over two or three posts. Authors On Tour—Live! Recorded in Denver at an indie bookstore called The Tattered Cover, this podcast is a weekly series of author readings. It features authors from a multitude of genres, from fiction authors of all stripes… Continue Reading

DIY Publishing

Current web-app superstars (or arrogant prima donnas, which ever you prefer) 37 Signals have written a book and are distributing it solely as a PDF, for $19USD a pop. They are now claiming that because of their success with the book (1750 copies sold so far) that there is “a new sherrif in town” (ie. DIY publishing). But is there really? Kottke chimes in as usual with a look at raw numbers rather than context and calls it good (well, “an interesting expirment” is his final declaration, but the rest of the short post seems more optimistic than that), but then I expected no less. What I think we really have to look at is this: Who is their target audience? In this case it’s tech-savvy entrepeneurs who are trying to get the most out of their budgets and still learn from people who are successful. Go to the business… Continue Reading

Novel School

Last month Louise Doughty (apparently a widely acclaimed author, although if I had a nickel for every widely acclaimed author I haven’t heard of I would be far better off than I am today) began a column on, essentially, how to write a novel in a year. Throughout 2006, I will be writing a column in this newspaper called Write a Novel in a Year. Can you write a novel in a year? Well, yes, if you don’t do much else and you work hard and are talented. But in actual fact, if you follow the column, and do the exercises I set (yes, exercises) what you will end up with will not be a novel, it won’t even be the first draft of a novel, it will be a body of work, the raw material, which you may one day be able to shape and work on until it… Continue Reading

Somebody Alert Jason Kottke

Blogs are not journalism. Jarret McNeill, one of the bloggers over at Maisonneuve has taken a crack at the question that seems to be preoccupying half the bloggers out there (and all the political bloggers); is blogging journalism? MacNeill says no. Jason Kottke ought to be notified. Jason seems to be of the opinion that any change in the way we communicate, no matter how minor a change (or how little it actually conflicts with or circumvents existing forms of communication) is revolutionary. MacNeill writes, Blogging is not a revolution, but it is a fucking megaphone that enables conversation between the gilded towers of the media elite and we, the tiny people. If blogging serves any function within the framework of journalism it is to remind the big boys, from time to time, when they neglect a story that either deserves attention or, for whatever reason, has caught the attention… Continue Reading

Belated Bookslut Commentary

Like just about everyone in the book blog world, I’m an avid reader of Jessa Crispin’s Bookslut blog. For the last several months she’s had a fellow blogger, Michael Schaub, making posts. In fact, he seems to be consistently out-posting Jessa at this point. Which leads me to my next point. Jessa should fire that guy. I’m sure they’re friends, but he’s bringing the quality of the site down. I can’t decide if he’s an idiot, a jerk, or is pretending to have no taste and a bad attitude because he thinks it’s cool, and I don’t particularly care, because he comes accross like all three assessments are correct. That is all.

Hack the Gibson

William Gibson, the foundation on which cyber-punk is built, and author of one of the finest books I’ve read in a long while (Pattern Recognition), has resumed blogging. Most of his posts seem to be dealing with issues of American politics, which is not what originally made his blog interesting, but he is an intelligent and articulate enough man that that it remains interesting.