In 2010, I wrote the most popular post on Category Thirteen, ever. I listed my Top 10 Literary Websites and, apparently, people really dug that topic — enough, at least, that they ended up on my site and must’ve told others about it. Well, it’s 2013 and I’ve realized something: I was a slacker for 2011 and 2012 (among many other things, obvi.). So, in the spirit of giving people what they want, I’ve updated my list and am pretty damn excited about it!
Let’s take a look my top 10 literary websites, and by 10, of course I mean 12!
1 ) The Rumpus – The more things change, the more they stay the same. This should really be no surprise. Not only has the Rumpus kept on doing what it does best (i.e. just about everything), they continue to up their game, which very few websites can claim. Isaac Fitzgerald and Stephen have a truly amazing thing going with The Rumpus with some great original ideas (e.g. “The Daily Rumpus,” “Letters in the Mail,” “The Last Book I Loved,” “Where I Write,” etc.), and it doesn’t hurt that they have some incredible talent backing them up, specifically their essays editor, Roxane Gay, and Dear Sugar herself, Cheryl Strayed. It seems incredible that I’ve actually written for this site given the level of talent surrounding it! Their book club is also stellar—you should join!
2 ) The Nervous Breakdown — I really can’t say enough good things about Brad Listi and the work he puts into his Other People Podcast. Listi’s really on the bleeding edge of what’s hot in lit. right now and you needn’t look any further than his A+ guest list. The Nervous Breakdown serves as a truly wonderful compliment to the show with hilarious author self-interviews, fantastic essays, and kickass book club.
3) The Millions – The Millions is still awesome. C. Max Magee’s site has been featured on NPR and noted by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Village Voice, among others. One of my favorite lit-related things in the universe is The Millions’ “A Year in Reading” where the editors ask a bunch of writers I really admire what their favorite books of the year were. The Millions’ “Top 10” and “Hall of Fame” are also can’t miss features.
4 ) HTMLGiant – Blake Butler & co. are still keeping lit. edgy at HTMLGiant. I’m a huge fan of their “25 Points” feature, as well as their giveaways, commentaries, and multi-part series (like “How to Be a Critic”). HTMLGiant also features a lot of writers I love reading like Jimmy Chen, Melissa Broder, Sean Lovelace, Lily Hoang, Adam Robinson, and Peter Tieryas Liu.
5 ) Electric Literature’s The Outlet — Electric Literature has been around for a while as a digital lit. journal and they’ve always put out a top notch product. With The Outlet, E.L. now has a forum for fantastic book reviews, interviews (Hi xTx!), “Thoughts,” and one of my personal favorites, “The Lit. List.” (The Monthly Mix Tapes are pretty awesome too!) Their recommended Reading e-newsletter is great for people looking for books to read, AND they just published the eBook version of Sam Pink’s latest novel, Rontel.
6 ) The Lit Pub — Want books? Want to review books? Want to read interviews of people talking about books and maybe publish a book yourself? If you answered yes to any or all of these, then three simple words are all you need to know: The. Lit. Pub. TLP started off as a place where readers could both review and recommend books they loved, but behind the hard work and dedication of its founder, Molly Gaudry, The Lit Pub has blossomed into much more. Not only can you recommend books (in fact, please do!), but you can submit your own work for possible publication under the TLP imprint. There are also contests which you should look into as well!
7 ) Sundog Lit – Hey new kid! You’re pretty dope! Sundog Lit only started in August 2012, but you wouldn’t know it based on the quality stuff it puts out. SDL publishes earth scorching writing—that’s its claim—and I can assure you it’s not bullshit! “Friday Rex,” “Photogene,” “The State of Literature,” any one of these features alone would be worth following, but why settle for just one when you can get them all at SDL? In fact, why are you still here? Go check out Sundog, posthaste! Justin Daugherty will thank you!
8 ) InDigest Magazine — InDigest has been quietly—or perhaps, not so quietly—doing a lot of amazing things recently. The site just underwent an overhaul (and looks fantastic!), and is a true champion of the NYC lit. and music scene. It probably doesn’t hurt that editor and founder, Dustin Luke Nelson, also works for multimedia art cabaret, (Le) Poisson Rouge, where InDigest events are often held (like the recent release party for Sam Lipsyte’s newest book, The Fun Parts).
9 ) The Contextual Life — Gabrielle Gantz is awesome. She’s talented and thoughtful and is generous enough to give you access to these qualities on her blog. It’s really great. Even better, Gantz is a publicist with Picador, so she’s got tons of insight into what books are coming out soon that you should read. Add in the fact that her site is very visually appealing and incredibly easy to navigate, and you’ve got one of the best lit. websites going, bar none!
10 ) Largehearted Boy — David Gutowski’s site is a lit. and music lover’s nirvana. “52 Books, 52 Weeks” is a must read/follow, LHB’s lists are awesome, and the daily downloads rock. You really shouldn’t miss Jami Attenberg’s “Antiheroines” interview series either! If you’re even a little interested in music, literature, and pop culture, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be checking Largehearted Boy regularly.
11/12 ) I Am Alt Lit / I Am Not Alt Lit — I Am Alt Lit / I Am Not Alt Lit gives this list a little bit of Tumblr love it’s been missing. As the site’s title suggests, it is both alt. lit and not alt lit., i.e. it (I suppose) it is all that encompasses alt. lit. From the inside-out. Or something. Whatever. It’s a great site. In a way, it feels like a little brother/sister to HTMLGiant. Their focus is similar as are (at times) their styles. I Am Alt Lit basically covers indie lit. books (e.g. reviews) and I Am Not Alt Lit covers just about everything else (e.g. memes, videos, musings, other errata). In any case, you should check it out!
I suppose next up will be my redux of “~10 Best Lit. Mags,” though I might have to specify ‘print-only’ since so many online journals do extra neat literary stuff (not that there’s anything wrong with just printing great stories!).