Hello readers and welcome back to a new series for the website, which as I stated previously began as an outgrowth of a file that’s been sitting in my Google Drive for months now so I thought I’d just break out some of the more important elements. That initial post was called “What’s a Reader For?” and was an attempt to look at all the sources we bring into account each day as we try to understand the world. In the age of the internet and social media I realize that could be an infinite amount so I’m going to break it down into the topics and sources I try to follow each week.
This series has already looked at various newsletters and website sources I use to follow what is happening on the local level in Minnesota and Minneapolis. Now I’m going to shift gears a bit and take a look at some subscriptions and email newsletters I use to keep up with the world of books and literature. I mentioned before I also use Twitter and feedly to keep up with some sites and may include that in the next post(s).
First I should start local and mention that I have been a subscriber to the literary review Rain Taxi for a few years now, and it has been incredibly worthwhile. They send out four beautiful looking issues a year and each one is full of reviews of authors I have never heard of, generally gaining me a new understanding of books that have come out over that time. Another cool thing they do is offer online reviews on their website that are only available there. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with their main editor Eric Lorberer a few years back to discover more about how the magazine functions. (They also host the Twin Cities Book Festival every year, and offer chapbooks and other items for sale on their site.)
Next I thought I’d list some stalwarts of the online literary scene. And that begins with Electric Literature, a site that has been around for over a decade and features a ton of great literary essays in their newsletter each week. Of note also is their dedicated Literary Mag “Recommended Reading” which I have gotten into more over the last few years and is a great source to find new short story voices. Another phenomenal site is the Los Angeles Review of Books, which also has a print quarterly and sends out great content from their website with every newsletter. I have come across some of the best book reviews and essays I’ve ever read and saved to my Instapaper through this organization.
A site that I have come across in the last few years that offers a contest every month to enter is called On the Premises. Their monthly newsletter rounds up their latest short story competition as well as some great writing advice. A great site that offers a newsletter rounding up important literary stories every week is LitHub (one of their original pieces helped fill out a post I did in the Writing Life series here on my blog). And to round out part one of these sources, Public Books is a most excellent online literary magazine that posts essays on a variety of topics (I have found their recent series “Hacking the Culture Industries” to be incredibly valuable).
This list is just a beginning look at the many great book and literary websites out there for us writers to use as resources. But again as with the previous entries in this series feel free to post your own sources in the comments below. I’ll be back with part two (and possibly three) of this list in the coming months.
John Abraham is a published author and freelance journalist who lives in the Twin Cities with his wife Mary and their cat. He is writing a speculative dystopian novel and is seeking representation and a publisher.