Hey y'all–it's true! I still exist. And am back from the tundra-like, cannibalism-inducing conditions that struck Manhattan on Saturday. I hope everyone I like there is still alive and was not taken down by the zombie horde that was clearly set to emerge based on the tenor of the local news reporting. I kept an eye out for demons and shufflers at the Jersey airport, but mostly it was just desperate people looking to get home, with the occasional cute companion animal to add a little visual interest. By the way, those Jets fans? They like to drink on the train out to Secaucus. (Why am I not surprised that spell check doesn't recognize the word Secaucus?) I'm just saying.
So, a few teensy hangovers, since I've been remiss. Really, I've been remiss all year. But all this will change next year, when I vow to start posting again, especially more recommendations.
- Laura Miller on quotation markless fiction, something that I must admit does usually make me want to strangle: "What, exactly, does anyone gain aesthetically from the chore of sorting out lines of dialogue? If the intention is to make the thing harder to read, why not disemvowel it and really give 'em a good workout? Notwithstanding such avant-garde stunts as Georges Perec's "A Void" (written so as to avoid using the letter "e"), the proposition that you can improve the literary quality of a text by arbitrarily cutting out some expected element to reduce its readability is, when baldly stated, just plain silly." YES.
- AL Kennedy on rewriting in the Guardian: "No one can teach you how to write, or how you write or how you could write better – they can assist you in various areas, but the way that you learn how you write, the way you really improve, is by diving in and reworking, taking apart, breaking down, questioning, exploring, forgetting and losing and finding and remembering and generally testing your prose until it shows you what it needs to be, until you can see its nature and then help it to express itself as best you can under your current circumstances." Also, YES.
- Margo Rabb has a new piece in the NYT, this time about book thievery and how it hurts indies. She has some additional thoughts at her blog. My own misspent youth book thievery has been chronicled elsewhere; Liz, you should probably not follow that link (I know! I'm sorry!).
- Some don't miss thoughts on what the past decade has meant for children's lit (and more broadly for the whole literary world): from Betsy Bird and from Monica Edinger. Perhaps I will do a ponderous post; it seems as if a decade is worth mulling, and I so enjoyed reading these thoughtful ones. At any rate, I declare that the next decade will be excellent. How can it not be? The century was just getting warmed up for the past ten years, right?
- "I am a teenage elf" essay. (Via Jenny D.)
- A typically brilliant and hilarious post from Dana about her father's list of "People He Would Kill if He Discovers He Has Only Six Months to Live." Let me know if you're taking requests, D.
- Alan DeNiro on the present and future of the interactive novel (Choose Your Own Adventure now style).
- Jackie Dolamore's delightful debut fantasy novel Magic Under Glass (Amazon | Indiebound) is just out today. So now you know what to do with your gift cards.
- Baby tapir. Don't say I never gave you anything.