You Can Win A Copy of the New Conjunctions Magazine

Conjunctions is one of my favorite literary magazines. Their issues are themed. They just released their latest issue, #58, titled Riveted: The Obsession Issue. As usual, it is filled with so many great writers.

The very generous Gabriel Blackwell is offering to give away a copy of the brand new Conjunctions:58 to one lucky person. All you need to do is answer this simple question in a comment on his blog.

I am already a subscriber to Conjunctions, so I really don’t need another copy (though an extra would be nice because why the hell not, right?) However, I think it would be best to get this great publication into the hands of someone who does not already have a copy.

So head over to Gabriel’s blog and leave a comment for your chance to win.

WTF Happened With The 2011 Fiction Pulitzer


The Pulitzer Awards were just announced, and oddly enough, there was no selection for the fiction category. You heard me right. There was no Pulitzer Prize granted to a work of fiction from 2011. So how could this possibly happen? A mistake? A missed deadline? An oversight?

According to Laura Miller, it’s no mistake. The Pulitzer panel simply decided not to grant the award.

Miller, who served on the Pulitzer jury a several years ago, reveals the process of selection. “The first tier is the jury’s selection. Three jurors (usually an academic, a critic and a fiction writer) are responsible for wading through huge boxfuls of books. Anyone can submit his or her book to the Pulitzer competition for a small fee, and believe me: anyone does.”

The jury selects three titles and recommends them to the Pulitzer Board. This Board chooses the winner from the recommended batch for each category of the Pulitzer Prize. The board may also choose to select a title that is not on the jury’s list, but, according to Miller, this rarely happens.

Just to clarify

This seems to be how it went down:

Jury: “Hey, Board, we’ve read a ton books – actually, literally speaking, at least two or three tons of books. Basically, a shitload of books. But, we’ve finally narrowed it done to three books which we all agree are the best and most deserving works of fiction. So, uh, we’ll just leave these here for you to take a look at, and uh, tell us what you think. k? thnx.”

Board: “Um…… no.”

Jury: “Oh. Ok. I guess those three picks weren’t your faves. It’s cool. Of course, there always is the option of you just choosing whatever book you want. Any book. At all. Just let us know. k? thnx.”

Board: “Uhhh. Hmmmm. Yeahno. Maybe next year.”

Seriously? You have one job, Panel. One job! You can’t just pass. Continue reading “WTF Happened With The 2011 Fiction Pulitzer”

Book Score: The Open Curtain by Brian Evenson

This is the third song in my Book Scores project. It is inspired by the novel The Open Curtain by Brian Evenson, published by Coffee House Press.

This book was creepy. Really creepy. Nightmarish. It’s about young Mormon guy who discovers some old newspaper articles about a strange murder involving the grandson of Brigham Young. He becomes more obsessed with learning about these mysterious circumstances, and shit gets crazy. That’s really the only way to put it.

Anyway, it was a fantastic novel. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. If you have read it, I wrote this score while thinking about the climax, the girl, the shed. You know what I’m talking about.

You can listen to the track on this YouTube video below:

Click here to download this song for free [from my Bandcamp page]

Here’s the cover image of the novel:

[easyazon-image align=”none” asin=”1566891884″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”333″]

Click here to check it out at Amazon

You can follow my Book Scores project on this page.

Book Score: The Mirador by Elisabeth Gille

This is the second song I’ve recorded for my Book Scores project. It is inspired by The Mirador by Elisabeth Gille, translated from the French by Marina Harss, and published by NYRB Classics. The full title of the book is The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky by her Daughter. It’s got an interesting story behind it. Elisabeth Gille wrote it as the made-up memoir of her mother, who was arrested and killed by the Gestapo when Gille was only five years old. Her mother was a popular novelist named Irene Nemirovsky, and she has found new fame in the United States in recent years with new editions of her novels in English, including the breakout bestseller Suite Francaise.

I didn’t have a particular scene in mind when I wrote this song. Instead, I was thinking about some of the feelings I got from the book. Granted, The Mirador is filled with pogroms and terror and suspicion and uncertainty while Europe is teetering on the tipping point of war. Nevertheless, I still felt within it a quaint dream-like quality, which is what I tried to capture in the song.

Listen to the track below. You can download it for free right here.

Below is the cover of The Mirador by Elisabeth Gille. You can read more about it at the NYRB Classics site, or you can check it out at Amazon.

Click here to listen to the previous Book Score for Mister Blue by Jacques Poulin.

The main hub of the Book Scores project can be found here.

Stay up to date with the Book Scores project by subscribing to Wing Chair Books via RSS or email.

What I’ve Been Reading This Week

So far I am at a 4-year low for the number of books I have read by this point in the year. It really bums me out. I get anxious and depressed when I don’t read as much as I want to. Seriously. Though, I have been reading more lately, so I’m feeling pretty good.

The Oregon Trail Is The Oregon Trail Gregory SherlOn Thurdsday I read The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail by Gregory Sherl. This little book of poems is by far one of the greatest books of poetry I have read in years, as well as one of the best books, of any type, I have read recently. It is thrilling to see what words can do. This was such a fun and compelling book.


The Skating Rink Roberto BolanoOn Friday I read The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano. This is the 4th Bolano I’ve read (after The Savage Detectives, Amulet, and By Night in Chile). It wasn’t exceptional until halfway though, and then it gained momentum like a landslide. I’ve noticed that with Bolano; his books begin very quiet and modest, but there comes a point when it gets good. Real good. I’m sure this quality weeds out a lot of readers that aren’t immediately grabbed, but those that finish the books are rewarded. Maybe that’s why he has such a dedicated following. Anyway, this one was about as good as Amulet, but not as good as Savage Detectives or By Night in Chile.


Meat Heart Melissa BroderOn Saturday I read Meat Heart by Melissa Broder. This is a book of poems. They challenged me. Not quite as immediately rewarding as the The Oregon Trail poems from Sherl, but I really liked it. I want to re-read it soon, because I think I’ll get more out of these poems each time I read them. Also, The cover is beautiful.



Nothing A Portrait Of Insomnia Blake ButlerOn Saturday night I started Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler. It’s his first nonfiction book. I like it so far, though I’m not far into it. It seems to read slowly, which is nice because I enjoy it and I don’t mind taking my time. I like Blake’s fiction, and this one has the same linguistic style, which I’m sure has repelled many people who’ve only picked it up because they wanted to read about insomnia, or to find something about themselves and their sleeplessness within it. I could see how they could get frustrated. It’s not concise language; there’s more to it. Blake’s language takes over. If some people had purple prose, Blake Butler has black prose.

The Complete Works Of Marvin K Mooney Christopher HiggsToday I began The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney by Christopher Higgs. Straight up metafiction. ‘Experimental’, if you will. I hate that term to describe art. Anyway, I’m really enjoying this book. It’s actually very readable, as sometimes intentionally weird fiction can be more work than fun. I’m 60 pages deep, and I really want to read more.



So those were my books this week. What have you been reading?

Writers Respond: What I Learned At AWP 2012 [3/3]

As anyone involved in the lit world knows, this past weekend was the annual AWP conference. Unfortunately, I was unable to find my way to Chicago for the event. Luckily, many gracious writers, editors, and publishers did go, and I asked them one question:

“What did you learn at AWP 2012?”

They gave me some great responses, which you can read below.

[Note: This is part three of a three-part series. You can read part one here, and part two here. For more features like this, subscribe via RSS or email.]

I learned that the best chocolates are not at the biggest booths, the best beers are not in the hotel bars, and the best panels are not the ones you attended.

Daniel Grandbois, author of Unlucky Lucky Days

This year I invented giving away books at the bookfair — Broder, Mullany and Sirois gave away dozens of signed copies — which was made affordable thanks to not registering for the conference, and was made necessary thanks to how badly it hurts my soul to try to sell books I love to disinterested, eye-glazed strangers.

Adam Robinson, founding editor of Publishing Genius Press & author of Adam Robison and Other Poems Continue reading “Writers Respond: What I Learned At AWP 2012 [3/3]”

Writers Respond: What I Learned At AWP 2012 [2/3]

As anyone involved in the lit world knows, this past weekend was the annual AWP conference. Unfortunately, I was unable to find my way to Chicago for the event. Luckily, many gracious writers, editors, and publishers did go, and I asked them one question:

“What did you learn at AWP 2012?”

They gave me some great responses, which you can read below.

[Note: This is part two of a three-part series. Read part one here and part three here – or better yet, subscribe via RSS or email.]

I learned how to use the Chicago subway system.

Melissa Broder, author of Meat Heart & When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother

1) literary events are more often about drinking with other writers than listening to them read; 2) if you want an audience, you have to rock the mic; 3) the most rewarding experiences tend to be the least trendy; 4) the DJ/dance part of the “Literature Party” should be subtitled “Geeks on Parade”; 5) short skirts and tall boots sell books; 6) many writers are alcoholics and it’s not glamorous; 7) you really can get laid at these things.

Jesus Angel Garcia, author of Badbadbad Continue reading “Writers Respond: What I Learned At AWP 2012 [2/3]”

Writers Respond: What I Learned At AWP 2012 [1/3]

As anyone involved in the lit world knows, this past weekend was the annual AWP conference. Unfortunately, I was unable to find my way to Chicago for the event. Luckily, many gracious writers, editors, and publishers did go, and I asked them one question:

“What did you learn at AWP 2012?”

They gave me some great responses, which you can read below.

[Note: This is part one of a three-part series. Read part 2 here and part3 here. – or better yet, subscribe via RSS or email.]

It’s easy to give in to the belief that everyone in the small press / indie lit / AWP writing scene are all on some fake ass, circle jerk, social bullshit, then you arrive at AWP and remember that people are amazing, full of love and life and talent and energy and creativity and goodness and you forget how / why / when you ever even forgot that in the first place.

Barry Graham, author of Nothing Or Next To Nothing & The National Virginity Pledge

I learned that social media, despite its many problems, is oddly good at indicating what someone will be like in person. I met a lot of people whom I had previously known by only their avatar photos and status updates. And there were no surprises. And no bad apples, either. Writers are good bunch. Underrated, even.

Brad Listi, author of Attention. Deficit. Disorder. & founder of The Nervous Breakdown Continue reading “Writers Respond: What I Learned At AWP 2012 [1/3]”

Best Translated Book Award 2012 Longlist Announced

Last Tuesday the translated-lit group Three Percent announced the longlist for their annual Best Translated Book Award. It is the fifth year for the award. The list includes the selected titles for the fiction award. Of these 25 titles, 10 will be selected as finalists for the shortlist, which will be announced on Tuesday, April 10th. On that day they will also announce the 10 finalists for the poetry title of the BTBA. From each of these two lists, a winner will be awarded and recognized by Three Percent as winner of the Best Translated Book Award.

Below is the list of the 25 titles that comprise the fiction longlist. Continue reading “Best Translated Book Award 2012 Longlist Announced”

I’ve Been Hacked! And I’ve Been Sick!

So I realized today that Wing Chair Books has been hacked, and I spent the whole afternoon fixing my database and searching for the evil coding that found its way in.

The site was a victim of a method called Pharma Hacking. It’s a sneaky type of spam that does not affect the general appearance or operation of the site EXCEPT for the page domains. When any of the site’s page domains, including the home page, appeared as a search result, they would take you instead to one of several spams websites advertising pills. My domains were hijacked. The old bait and switch.

Things should be better now. The Google search results still look a little funky, but they should be fixed as soon as the Goolge-bot recrawls my site, which, hopefully, will happen within the next few days.

On another note, I’ve been sick for the past week. Actually, I’ve been better for the past five or six days, but I was out with a terrible cold for seven days. I’m feeling much better now, but I haven’t posted here since before I was sick. Starting tonight, I’ll be back to a regular posting schedule. It feels good to feel good again.