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Online Book Clubs

If you’re having trouble picking your next read, or just looking to expand your taste-range, consider subscribing to an online book club. Many will send the book right to your door. Here are a few you might want to check out:

The Nervous Breakdown Book Club

Focuses on new, unsung books from some of the best indie publishers. November’s pick: Preparation for the Next Life, by Atticus Lish.

Book Riot’s Riot Read

The Book Riot team strives to pick unique works of fiction every month for open-minded readers. They’ll also send along a few hand-picked items that fit the book thematically, as well as a personal letter describing the month’s theme and the significance of each item. Never boring. Last month’s pick: Lucky Us, by Amy Bloom.

Emily Books

Emily Books is a unique ePublishing venture founded by Emily Gould and Ruth Curry. A refreshing break from the world of big publishing, Emily books publishes just one book a month, e-only. You can buy individual books through the Emily Books app, or subscribe and automatically receive an eBook every month.

Powell’s indieSpensable

Powell’s focuses on new titles beloved by the Powell’s staff. Every book is a signed first edition (nice perk). Sign up to receive a new book every six weeks. Most recent pick: The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell

Norm’s Book Club

More like your classic idea of a book club: a bunch of people getting together to talk about a book, new or old. But @NormsBooksClub takes place in the Twitterverse. That being said, the discussions are surprisingly deep and tamer than you’d imagine. Most recent pick was a few short stories: “A Perfect Day for Bananafish,” by JD Salinger; “Lost in the Funhouse,” by John Barth; and “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” by Delmore Schwartz.

Our Favorite Literary Podcasts

Other People

Brad Listi, founder of The Nervous Breakdown, interviews a writer every Sunday and Wednesday. Charming, self-effacing, and deadpan, Listi’s interviews (and monologues) are addictive. Writers (and sometimes editors and publishers) discuss their work, but also their history, family, fears, and predilections. Each conversation is a revelation and a gabfest, making you feel an oddly close connection to both Listi and the interviewee. We recommend: #316 with Sarah McCarry, #300 with Aimee Bender, and #227 with Kevin Sampsell.


If you’re looking for a good mix of humor, insight, and book recommendations, Bookrageous is the perfect podcast. Hosts Jenn Northington, Josh Christie, Rebecca Schinsky, Preeti Chhibber, and Paul Montgomery come from a variety of bookish backgrounds—they are booksellers, book marketers, and book bloggers, among other things—but their chief talent is discussing and recommending excellent reads. They spend an hour or so each month discussing what they’re reading and a variety of other topics—from this year’s BEA to which literary characters they’d sit with at lunch. Funny, irreverent, and inspiring, listening to Bookrageous is akin to hanging out with your best, and nerdiest, friends.

Welcome to Night Vale

Night Vale’s town motto is: if you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget. These bimonthly radio broadcasts tell the story of an odd and often frightening town where the unusual is everyday and the everyday is unusual. Though librarians are widely considered to be malevolent, fearsome creatures, the many literary allusions and superb, serial storytelling cement Welcome to Night Vale’s place on our three favorite literary podcasts.

Link’s Lit List 10.21.14

  1. “Desire is transformative, and transgressive: whether it’s an unpeeled onion or a noble lover, to want something, especially for women, can never be entirely benign.” A short article on hunger in fairy tales.
  2. “…if there’s a single novel that can claim paternity for the last 20 years of American fiction, it’s probably One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  3. Eloise at 46 (and still at the Plaza).
  4. The entirety of Harry Potter in a single illustration by the inspiring artist Lucy Knisley.
  5. Jenn Northington decodes the mysteries and references of Lumberjanes (our new favorite comic).
  6. Care to win a thousand dollars, free admission to a Gotham Writer’s Workshop, and a chance for Karen Russell to read your work?
  7. We think net neutrality is super important, and so should you.

Petrichor Picks #1

Emma’s Picks

“The Wormhole, a Romance”

by Margaret Patton Chapman
(from Diagram 10.3)

If you’ve ever felt fundamentally out of place, you’ll feel a kinship with Chapman’s nameless narrator. Threaded together with repeating imagery and scientific details, these vignettes create a picture of profound displacement that is simultaneously discomfiting and entertaining.

“An Assessment of Fast Food Hamburgers in the Southeastern Unites States (Parts 1-4)”

by Joseph R. Worthen
(from Hobart)

This pseudo-scientific assessment of fast food hamburgers is endearingly ironic and utterly thorough. Worthen gives equal focus to his burger, his surroundings, and the feelings that both produce—which include, but are not limited to: self-abuse, nostalgia, deep satisfaction, and existential despair. I read this four part review more than a year ago, and I still find myself recalling it with fondness and delight every time I pass a Five Guys.

Pete’s Picks

“The List (But Not the Wishes)”

by Cate McLaughlin
(from Bodega Issue 21)

With a fishhook for a first line (“not grace, / but torque and gristle”), this piece wastes no time establishing its raw, candid energy. This is the animating force of art, the physics guiding the pirouette, the life beneath the artifice. McLaughlin’s poem is a frank look at a lapsed relationship, and a commentary on the very nature of partnership: “The truth: that / I don’t miss you, / but would feel relieved / to see you again”

“Silent Film”
by Patrick Ryan Frank

(from Boxcar Poetry Review Issue 33)

While the first two stanzas are essentially a summary of dramatic action in film, this poem truly peaks with its concluding stanza. The litany of war-film tropes is an insane march toward ruin, but the poet brings us back to a moment of grace. As the engine turns over, the young hero is suspended in time, at the emotional peak of his sure-to-be-brief life. Confused. Eager. Animated.

Sean’s Picks

“Snow Fallen” 

by Dolly Reynolds
(from decomP magazinE)

“Snow Fallen” is an efficient, affective character piece. It forces the reader to juggle hatred and sympathy for Henry, a recent father and more recent murderer. Reynolds tells this brief story with a calm, measured pace—the speed of early morning thoughts in a slowly warming house while everyone else is asleep. The accompanying audio is highly recommended, as the story’s genesis renders it even more engaging.


by Alexandra Kessler
(from Fiddleback Issue 17)

“Fish” is a funny, angsty, yet serious piece. Kessler’s Jenna narrates with a detached cynicism, and the reader feels she’s observing her life from outside herself. Dissatisfied and depressed, but too numb to actively change her circumstances, Jenna is resigned to her ugly and obnoxious boyfriend, her vapid best friend, and a well-meaning town that only makes her feel worse about her brutal run-in with a shark a year prior. Indeed, the shark seems to be the only entity in which Jenna can place any real feeling. Having consumed her flesh, the animal becomes an avatar of sorts.

Music You May Have Missed

While the album’s count in, “One, two, you know what to do,” sounds like a simple snippet from a band rehearsal, the sheer force and weight of the drums and the bass’s funky pulse signals that The Information is very much a polished, studio-recorded product. The band establishes an infectious groove within three seconds—true also in most of the heavier, rhythmic-centric tracks off the album. Beck’s opening line, “I’m uptight, super-gutted out the frame,” reflects and casts a shadow on the shreds of anxiety that pervade the record.