One of the things that the Internet did was open up access to things with a “long tail,’ which is dopey marketing talk for (picture this) stuff out way on the end of the bell curve. The ankle-deep part. So, before, there weren’t a lot of publications for people who were interested in literary fiction because it didn’t represent, shall we say, a large commercial market.
The web has changed that. This blog is an example. But, in my view, there’s a leader. Literary Hub is the place I go for things of literary interest. It is well curated and smart and features good writing that is built on a love of reading and writing and not a love of academic rhetoric.
Digression: one of my favorite podcasts is Sporkful, which is an eating podcast. By which I mean, the motto is that it’s not for foodies, it’s for eaters. Literary Hub is for readers, not literature professors.
Every day, they send me an email which is a collection of literary on-this-day type history and then a curation of original writing and writing out on the web.
Oh and an ode to Bartleby. Which I prefer.
The website itself has tons of good stuff to read, too. I can’t recommend it enough. I think it will definitely add to your quality of life.
Beyond that, I’m reading “Leaving Berlin,” which is labeled as a “thinking man’s thriller,” which is kind of a slap at thrillers, which is why I put it in quotes. I’m not a thriller reader, but this one (which was on a number of best-of lists) is really good. The author is Joseph Kanon, and he does a great job of exposition (which is about as far as I am in). He drops a dramatic event early, but he uses dialogue effectively to reveal the past without too much overt explanation, which I enjoy.
Also, I listened this morning to Pamela Paul’s interview of Ron Chernow on the New York Times podcast. Very interesting. I’m the nerd that read the Hamilton bio before Lin-Manuel Miranda did. Chernow is an outstanding writer–a great storyteller and historian. He has a biography of US Grant coming out, which is pretty cool. There are a lot of mysteries about Grant and he’s going to delve into him. Of particular interest is Grant’s complete lack of ambition and yet incredible resilience and then the debate over whether he was an Alcoholic or not.
So that book is on the list. #3 in the queue, is where I make it.