online magazine for short, good writing

Category: This Week in Words

This Week in Words – Aug 24

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard died this week at the age of 87. Here’s his obit in The New York Times.

Speaking of crime (if only a little), this article in The New Yorker caught my eye both as a former student of criminology and as a leftie. Fortunately for me and my left-handed brethren, the criminal theory is largely debunked. Also on the plus side, though we may have a hard time finding a pair of scissors or a spiral notebook we can use easily (not to mention keeping the ink from smearing on the page!), we could be president! Also, we’re very smart. Color me surprised.

Here Junot Diaz talks about his process and other assorted things, like male strippers and the zombie apocalypse.

I’m recommending you read something Roxane Gay recommended you read a few weeks ago for Electric Lit’s Recommended Reading series. If you think that’s a sentence, take a deep breath, hold it, and marvel at these sentences in Lindsay Hunter’s “Three Things You Should Know about Peggy Paula.” Just when I think I’ve made up my mind about the rules of the English language and how they mustn’t be broken, I find a story like this.

This Week in Words – Aug 17

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

The new school year is upon us! I can already hear the petulant adolescent grumbling. But for you older folks, wise enough to appreciate being in school while you can, I have a list for you. Well, actually Flavorwire does, but you get my point. It’s literary colleges! Twenty-five of them!

Ron Burgundy is publishing a book about how brilliant and classy he is. You heard me.

Read this: “A Short Story Written with Thought-to-Text Technology” by Jesse Eisenberg in The New Yorker. If thought-to-text technology were a thing, this wouldn’t be too far from what my own resultant work would look like. Minus all the stuff about the girl.

This Week in Words – Aug 10

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

If ever you were going to pair two things whose union would surely bring about hilarity and awesomeness, it would be Gary Shteyngart and Google Glass. For The New Yorker, Shteyngart walks you through his experience exploring New York City through the Glass. Oh, and there’s also video.

Michael Nye offers advice to emerging writers. A lot of it is stuff young writers should already know (either because it’s common sense or we’ve heard it a kabillion times), but it’s a list that’s simple, neat, and concise. So why not?

I want this shirt. You should want this shirt. It’s based on this exchange between Cheryl Strayed/Dear Sugar and Elissa Bassist (a piece I mentioned in February 16th’s TWIW). For those of you too lazy to click the links to see what I’m talking about, all you need to know is this: Write like a motherfucker.

For your reading fun this week:

The Last City I Loved: Austin” at The Rumpus is written by and about a native San Franciscan who moved to Austin for a few years – before moving back to San Fran to get her MFA. I’m recommending you read it because: a) I live here so it’s personal; and b) the writer of this article totally gets it. It’s hard not to love Austin when you hear about it from someone who loves it, too. But, please, don’t move here. There isn’t room.

And this, because damn, man.

This Week in Words – Jul 20

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Tim Kreider has a great essay in The New Yorker Page Turner about the growing insignificance – and mediocrity – of book covers. Being a cartoonist, Kreider included visual aids with the piece. Sadly, though, no cartoons.

Somewhere, a book nerd is planning her dream vacation. I don’t mean me. (I might mean me.)

Here’s a brief note about the grammar-centric tomes that DFW had in his own library, many of which you can now view at UT-Austin’s Harry Ransom Center (should you want to add that to the list you’re compiling from the previous link).

And for reading fun, a couple of short pieces from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency:

This one is almost exactly what I expect takes place anytime there’s construction in or around a building in which I am trying to sleep.

And this one goes out to fellow fans of Star Wars and funny things. (But not racism.)

This Week in Words – Jul 13

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Printed books vs. digital books, ever the hot-button issue (apparently). I have to come down diplomatically in the center of this argument. I love printed books – the way they smell, the feel of reading a real book, turning a page. But I can’t discount the total convenience of an e-reader – it keeps my travel bag under the carry-on weight limit.

For the Paris Review Daily, Alice Bolin examines The Young Visiters, a novel published in 1919 and written by Daisy Ashford at the age of nine. Nine.

A list of “28 ‘Favorite’ Books That Are Huge Red Flags.” This is the funniest thing I’ve read on the Internet in weeks. Example: Addressing those who claim Fight Club as their favorite, he says, “Oh, it’s so haaaaard to be a white-collar man nowadays, what with laws and feminism and Ikea restraining our healthiest instincts. Oh, wait, no it’s not. We’re coddled and chubby pink piglets who don’t have to fight in wars or protect anyone. Enjoy your Frappuccino like a man and quit complaining, you teenager.”

And this has nothing to do with anything, really, but I found it enjoyable.

This Week in Words – Jul 6

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Want to know the secret to writing fiction?  Don’t ask this guy – or maybe do. Maybe he’s a diabolical genius and these rules really work. I’ll leave the finding out to you.

This is a thing. So now you know and there’s little you can do about it, except roll your eyes (which I strongly encourage).

This piece for Salon about great literary takedowns is sort of fun, if a little bombastic.

I don’t have a fiction recommendation for you this week. Instead, I’d like you to read “I’ll Not Yield at This Time,” written for The Rumpus by my fellow native Texan Callie Collins. It reminds me – and as Callie says, we Texans like to remember – why I have this fierce and innate patriotism for my home state. For better or worse, I, too, am a Texan.

This Week in Words – Jun 29

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

If you want to be more creative and open-minded, you’ve come to the right place. A Canadian study has shown that reading short stories increases a person’s comfort level with curiosity and ambiguity, which in turn increases the potential for creativity and “sophisticated thinking.”

In the Huffington Post, David Crystal talks about the ever-evolving phenomenon of spelling within the English language.

Laura Bogart speaks in brutal and honest terms about rage in this past week’s Sunday Rumpus Essay.

The Los Angeles Review of Books just published the third installment in an entertaining and enlightening series of essays about fairy tales and their various retellings, both ancient and contemporary. This one is a roundtable of pieces on versions of The Little Mermaid. But you can also check out the first and second installments about Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, respectively.

Reading recommendation: If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and give Ardor a read. It’s free and online, and they have a beautiful format for their issues. (I recommend the fiction in Issue Two, to start.)