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My Top 10 Literary Websites: 2013 edition!

Best EverIn 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 BreakdownI 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 MillionsThe 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.

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There Be Dragons! | 03.14.12

I’ve been busy!

Although AWP ’12 is now done and over with, I have more to do than ever, which is a good thing. “It’s better to be busy than bored,” etc. etc.

Work on my novel has picked back up. I’d taken a small hiatus away from it while prepping materials for AWP and finishing a couple freelance editing gigs. The ultimate success of the latter two items was really hit or miss. It might be March, but a resolution I’m setting for myself is to be more clear with my communications with others. In trying to please everyone with too much flexibility, something invariably gets lost in translation. I wrote that down so I’d remember it.

I’ve been reading some great books lately. Two of the best have been Adam Levin’s Hot Pink (my review of Levin’s book goes live on [PANK] March 20th) and Leigh Stein’s The Fallback Plan. It would certainly behoove you to read these two books at your nearest convenience. Or cancel other plans to read them. You’ll thank me later.

Tumblr is fun!

If you haven’t checked out Mike Meginnis’s simulated text adventure series EXITS ARE over at Artifice Books, you should do so ASAP! And don’t forget to congratulate Mike for having a story accepted for next year’s Best American Short Stories (BASS) anthology while your at it!!

Speaking of next year’s BASS anthology, I’d also like to congratulate Roxane Gay (who I’ve — not even secretly — got a huge literary crush on) for having a story accepted as well — this is truly BIG news for the small indie presses!!

And speaking of Roxane, it’s no secret she’s really into The Hunger Games (scroll down). “Really into” is perhaps a complete understatement. Because of Roxane’s wholly infectious enthusiasm, I was this < > close to starting the postapocalyptic trilogy myself. I’d even bought all three books and everything. That’s something i do with books, by the way — if it’s a series, I’ll buy all of them at once to A) have them all because I might possibly be a hoarder-in-the-making, and because B) I like to be prepared for the off-chance a stranger approaches me on the street and gives me a drug that turn me into a super-genius (like what happened to Bradley Cooper in Limitless), in which case I could read all of them back-to-back in a sitting or two.

But something happened…

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Good Timing Is Not My Forte: A 34 Day Recap

Punctuality and good timing are not the same thing. I’m fantastic at the former. But the latter? … Not so much.

For example: This is my first actual blog post in a month–a month in which my first book was published (Shenanigans!, Grey Sparrow Press, 2012) and another edition of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference came and went in Chicago. The word from Category Thirteen? Nothing.

Radio Silence.

To call my timing “bad” is perhaps an understatement.

However, all is not lost! The book is 100% available and in-stock, and can be purchased from Amazon for $9.99 by clicking here. Initial reviews and word of mouth feedback are good, so we’ll see how that trend holds up… ( :: drums fingers nervously :: )

My AWP 2012 experience can probably best be summed up as “minimalist.” By that I mean, I spent something approximating 90% of my time laid up in my hotel room with 7th-Level-of-Hell back pain. Which, i should mention, stemmed from tripping–and subsequently rolling my ankle–over a curb while walking to my hotel, before I even ventured to pick up my customary AWP registration swag(!!). The clumsy trip/stumble/ankle-roll maneuver was enough to *tweak* my back in such a way that carrying a heavy backpack over the next couple days would exacerbate the pain to the point of incapacitation.

In other words, instead of doing fun conference-y stuff, I spent almost 24 hours just laying in my hotel bed the day before I flew back to Omaha.

The upside is that, in the small amount of time I got to spend at AWP actually conferencing, I “met” a shitload of rad people! I put ‘met’ in quotes because they were people I’d spent a great deal of time chatting with on Twitter and Facebook, but had never met in real life (a phrase quickly losing its concrete meaning).

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My 2011 Year in Review | 12.29.11

Excerpted from InDigest Magazine:

…There are so many books I loved this year, this list could end up becoming a novella in length! I mean, I read and loved David Foster Wallace’s “unfinished novel” The Pale King, devoured Sarah McKinstry-Brown’s truly fantastic book of poetry, Cradling Monsoons; I finished Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow (finally!), expanded my taste for the experimental with Darby Larson’s The Iguana Complex and Johannes Göransson’s Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate, and sung the praises of both Adam Novy’s The Avian Gospels and Christian TeBordo’s The Awful Possibilities.

 And how could I forget the best memoir of 2011, Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Chronology of Water, Roxane Gay’s truly wonderful Ayiti and Ethel Rohan’s Hard to Say? (It’s simple: I couldn’t!) I sincerely loved so many books I read this year—large and small, dense and opaque, traditional and experimental, major presses and indie presses—so much diversity! Indeed, this list would feel incomplete without Brian Oliu’s So You Know It’s Me and xTx’s Normally Special, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention how much I really liked Jeffrey Eugenides’s latest novel, The Marriage Plot, and Roberto Bolaño’s found manuscript, The Third Reich

Read more here.

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