Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Font fanatics

Slate posts the favorite working fonts of a handful of writers. (A follow-up to a photoessay on Helvetica: "the font of the 20th Century.")

In case you're interested, I used Geneva most of the way through college for papers for class, and Courier, starting about the time of my playwriting class, for most of my creative work. I switched to Times in 2002 or so, since it seemed less pretentious. There is a part of me that misses Courier, though, and if I return to more intensive work in scripts and screenplays, I may pick it up again since script formatting demands it.

I am a bit embarrassed to say that I can't name any of the fonts we've used in Revelator's chapbooks. Brandon Kelley, our designer, has done such a good job that I've been almost entirely hands-off, but normally I'm kind of wonky about that sort of thing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Just what we need, another blog

After having set it up several weeks ago, I've finally started posting to my East Lansing Lit Mags blog.

So, along with Revelator and Wordwright, that makes three, although EL Lit Mags will probably be more of an archive for the information I've been digging up than a blog per se, but that may depend on what sort of comments I get. I know I have some interesting anecdotes from various sources, so if it seems like people are stopping by, maybe I'll find a way to work those in somehow.

Check it out, and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good for you, McSweeney's

Buried in this NYT story on the National Magazine Awards, you'll find that McSweeney's won for fiction this year, beating the New Yorker, Playboy, Virgina Quarterly Review, and Zoetrope: All Story.

I've been trying to dig up old lists of finalists, but haven't had much luck. (I haven't really tried all that hard. I know that at least a couple of them are available at Snarkmarket.) What strikes me about this year's list is how few surprises there are. Where are the small lit mags no one has heard of that are printing great stories? (VQR is the only "small" magazine on the list, and they've been getting a lot of attention lately. Esquire and Granta are the only two big story publishers I can think of who weren't finalists this year, especially since the Atlantic Monthly doesn't print fiction anymore. (A quick glance a Snarkmarket's lists of old finalists reminds me of two more: The Paris Review and Harper's, although under their new editor, TPR seems to be focusing as much on reportage as fiction this days, which is a bit of a disappointment to me.) Is that it? Are the New Yorker, Playboy, Esquire, and Harper's really the only four magazines reaching a mass audience who print fiction? (As much as I love them, I'm not sure it can be said that McSweeney's, VQR, TPR, Zoetrope or Granta reach a mass audience.)

Please tell me that I'm missing someone.

Yet more on book reviews

The NYT weighs in on major newspapers, especially the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Los Angeles Times, reducing or eliminating their book review sections.

The NYT seems to imply that blogs are picking up part of the slack, but I think I'm with fellow MSU alum Richard Ford on this one. I think that the blogs are great and provide an essential additional venue for books to receive attention, but won't reach many of the audiences who look to the larger weekly newepaper book reviews to find something to read.

I also like Ford's point on the question of responsibility. PBS's Frontline had an excellent series recently on the changing role of newspapers in society and in competition with new media. Once again, while I'm excited by the prospects of participation in new media, I'm also struck how almost no one in the new media projects really considers themselves journalists, much less wants to even consider the sort of questions of ethics and responsibility to the reader that most journalists deal with all the time.

The new media is fabulous, but I think that it's incredibly short-sighted to act as though it makes the old media obsolete. Increasingly, we need both.

(Speaking of journalists, Ellen E. Heltzel at Poynter.org provides a good summary of the issue.)