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Just a few statements of purpose, and what we’re reading right now.
Thank you for subscribing. We’ll keep this short. We are two guys who have long wanted a brief, informative newsletter that helps us find new books, essays, and other arcana. It doesn’t exist, so its creation has fallen to us.
Our goal is fundamentally to deliver a bulletin that is a quick and enjoyable way for you to hear about good and interesting writing and good and interesting books. Our hope is that it will be something you look forward to. Nothing too heavy and nothing too boring. A few good links, a few regular features—a weekly poem, an upcoming book, a joke, a quote, whatever will be amusing and informative. Becoming literate is a lifelong task, but it shouldn’t take your entire day.
If you’re reading this today, you probably trust one or both of our tastes well enough to have put your email down—thank you. We’re going to try to live up to that trust. We plan to send an email Wednesday and Saturday: one for your workweek scrolling, and one for your weekend . . . scrolling.
The first email will come on Saturday, here in your inbox, and we hope you enjoy it, or at least find it useful.
—The Managing Editors
What we’re reading right now:
Chris is putting off reading All the King’s Men, because the mood hasn’t struck (sorry G.R.; sorry roommates), and How to Be Normal, because his review copy hasn’t arrived yet. But he is reading Muriel Spark novels as quickly as and in whatever order they come in the mail—most recently The Only Problem, a wry novel that’s mostly about the book of Job, and also a gang of terrorists. Its characters discuss endlessly the “only problem”—the problem of suffering, but their actions betray that it might be the problem of love instead. Four out of five amused chuckles.
Chris saw his shadow this morning leaving the house, so the Spark fixation is projected to last at least another six weeks.
He plans to have this essay from B.D. McClay open in a tab until getting to it this afternoon, and encourages you to do the same. He just got the latest issue of The Point Magazine, and is excited to read this essay from Joey Keegin, which everyone loved, and this one too.
He has also been reading through collections of poems from Robert Hass and Mark Jarman, most recently The Black Riviera, which had moments of touching brilliance and also a number of poems that were a few pages too long, and Time and Materials, which was only okay compared to the excellent Human Wishes.
Nic is also burning through Muriel Spark, most recently A Far Cry from Kensington and The Ballad of Peckham Rye. He was disheartened to learn that he is probably a pisseur de copie but happy to find that at least he’s not the devil. He hopes to get a copy of her only children’s book, The Very Fine Clock, for his daughter.
He recently picked up Tara Isabella Burton’s forthcoming novel, The World Cannot Give. More to come on that, maybe. A stranger gave him a book of “corrections” to the Koran on a recent flight out of Minneapolis. He hasn’t picked it up yet, but it sits on a shelf next to another—doubtless very different—book of corrections.
He has not caught The Drift’s drift, but is open to the idea.