Rank Untended Sprawl: Faulkner's Flags in the Dust

It’s refreshing to see the the work of one of the greats with its guts sprawled out on the workbench.

Delightful Snippets: Echoes in C.S. Lewis and Tolkien

I’m going to fire up a category of short posts in which I share short passages that interest or delight me for some reason or other, in the thought that they may interest or delight you as well. Here’s one I noticed a while back.

Tom Kealey, Thieves I've Known

I’m reading a lot of short fiction lately. This fact surprises me. For years I’ve found the form distressingly miniature. Worse, quiescent. These are different.

Lorrie Moore, Bark

The stories in Lorrie Moore’s collection Bark might be subtitled “Things That Are Not Enough, and What To Do About Them”.

What I Don't Like: The Alchemyst

Story trumps everything. I get that. But when I see a good story, or even a decent one, blighted by bad prose, it just makes me want to cry.

What I Like: The Scorpio Races

Sartoris is earnestly trying to follow the advice of agents and publishers who thunder that you need to read a hundred titles in your chosen genre before shopping your manuscript around. Or a hundred fifty, depending on whom you ask….


Many exceptional authors and critics praised Richard Stern’s fiction. Not so many people read very much of it. Why?

paul harding tinkers cover

As he flexes his reading muscles again, Sartoris has rummaged through all the likely places, including, of course, the recent Pulitzers. Harding’s recent Tinkers certainly looked appealing. Such a short book to win a big prize, and such encomia. Sartoris applauds the effort, but found some challenges as a reader.

harry potter order of the phoenix cover

Sometimes authors give their readers a peek behind the scenes. And sometimes the readers say “thanks but no thanks.” Can an author really claim she did something “wrong” with a story? Doesn’t this undermine her standing as the Prime Mover, the Higgs Boson of her fictional world? Such are the questions posed in a column over on The Millions, which deals with what one reader felt was some over-sharing on the part of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.