Thursday, July 28, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #7

In round 7 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Hadley Moore. Hadley is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is at work on a novel and a collection of stories.

What are you reading right now?

Michael Parker’s The Watery Part of the World. (Full disclosure—he’s one of my former teachers.)

I think the first thing I require of fiction is to be engaged, and the second is not to be distracted by lazy sentences. I can—and like to—do craft analysis, but first I have to be taken in by the story and the language. Parker’s new novel has taken me in.

What else have you been reading this summer?

I reread Denis Johnson’s Angels and Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban because I’ve lately been fascinated by short novels (The Great Gatsby, The Hours, On Chesil Beach, The Age of Grief, A Simple Heart, and Pale Horse, Pale Rider—I see some of these are veering into the territory of the novella—are other favorites.)

"Classic" you’ve been meaning to read?

Oh, lots, but the one I’ve been thinking about lately is Ulysses. I used to be afraid of the classics, but now they’re a regular part of my reading life. Undisciplined, I would gobble up contemporary fiction, mostly novels, so I try to read in groups of six: one contemporary novel or collection, one classic, one book of poetry, one literary journal, one craft book, and one book by someone I know (these categories often overlap). I’m not perfect about it, and I do give myself a break sometimes—I went on a contemporary-fiction binge last winter after reading War and Peace, the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation—but I think my six-book rotation encourages me to think more broadly

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July Trivia Contest Question #3:

Everyone remembers the classic movie of The Wizard of Oz, adapted from the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum in 1900. From Dorothy's ruby slippers to the Emerald City, the movie is alive with color. In the movie the Emerald City is actually emerald, but in the book only the walls are green, why then, is the city called such?

Know the answer? Then hurry up and be the first to shoot an email to us at!

Monday, July 25, 2011

July Trivia Contest Answer to Question #2:

It's Monday so that means it is time to post the answer to the second question of our July Trivia Contest!

The answer is...drum roll please...Stephen King! His books and short stories has been made into over 30 movies. Sound impressive? Very much so, however, this isn't even counting the number of works converted to short films, TV miniseries, or works made into television episodes of other TV series, which is also over 30!!! 

Unfortunately, we don't have a winner this week, but there is always the next question so keep an eye out on our blog later in the week.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #6

In round 6 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Hilary Leichter. Hilary earned a BA in English at Haverford College. She is currently an MFA candidate in the writing program at Columbia University, and this is her first published story. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

What are you reading right now?

I am going back and forth between two books: THE PORTABLE DOROTHY PARKER, and BEST-LOVED FOLKTALES OF THE WORLD. Both books are like having a date with a group of friends who happen to know the greatest stories of all time, and then sitting and listening to them talk until dawn.

What else have you been reading this summer?

I just reread Shirley Jackson's WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE, which is dark and gorgeous and haunting and thrilling. Besides, there is a new edition with beautiful cover art by Thomas Ott, and I am a sucker for beautiful cover art. Who isn't? I was reading about the Blackwood sisters and their "castle" while simultaneously heading out on a crazy, madcap apartment hunt. It turns out that Brooklyn doesn't have many affordable castles for rent on craigslist - go figure!

Also, Neil Gaiman's SMOKE AND MIRRORS, which I borrowed from a friend and has been sitting on my bookshelf for way too long. I will give it back to you soon, friend! This book is diabolical. The stories are satisfying in an unhealthy way.

Also, also: the short story collection BOYS AND GIRLS LIKE YOU AND ME, by Aryn Kyle. If you like things that knock you out of your chair, you should probably go buy a copy, immediately. I loved this nuanced and elegant book, especially the first story, "Brides."

Which upcoming book releases are you most looking forward to?

Steven Millhauser's WE OTHERS: NEW AND SELECTED STORIES. Marisha Pessl's NIGHT FILM. I am waiting with bated breath for my copy of Alan Hollinghurst's THE STRANGER'S CHILD. I loved his most recent book, THE LINE OF BEAUTY, which is another great summer read. I can't wait to find the new one in my mailbox. And I won't come up for air until the binding is broken, the pages are smudged and I hit the back cover.

I can't stand the suspense, so I am pre-ordering THE FLAME ALPHABET, by Ben Marcus. And you can't stop me. In fact, you should probably pre-order it too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July Trivia Contest Question #2:

This past week, the last of J.K. Rowling's Potter books were adapted to the big screen. While Rowling has seven books adapted, she's no where near this author's numbers. Which author has had the most novels and short stories adapted into film?

Monday, July 18, 2011

July Trivia Contest Answer to Question #1:

The answer to the previous week's trivia question is: Scarlet O'Hara has 3 children in the 1936 novel.

Congratulation to this week's winner, Kris Underwood!

Didn't get a chance to participate in this week's trivia contest? Never fear! The next question will be posted shortly so keep a watchful eye out on our Blog!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #5

In round 5 of our contributor interview series we spoke with CJ Evans. CJ is the author of The Category of Outcast, selected by Terrance Hayes for the Poetry Society of America’s New York Chapbook Fellowship. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as Boston Review, Colorado Review, Open City, Pleiades, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Web Conjunctions. He is the managing editor of TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation and contributing editor for Tin House.

What are you reading right now?

I'm slowly working my way through a bunch of great things right now, including:
Anja Utler's "Engulf-Enkindle", translated by Kurt Beals (Burning Deck Press) a dense but playful book. A great one to read aloud.
Adam Fell "I Am Not a Pioneer" (H_NGM_N BKS) a first book, but Fell reads like a very mature poet. Some really amazing lines and turns, and the imagistic and linguistic threads that run through the book are excellent.
Lydia Davis's "Collected Stories", a perfect commute book—every story is small, but so intricate and so well-conceived and -written. I read just a couple on the train every day.
"Senselessness" by Horacio Castellanos Moya, translated by Katherine Silver (New Directions) a very odd little book about politics, sex, genocide and a narrator that might be going crazy. It was recommended to me by a few people I trust, and I think Katherine Silver always picks wonderful books to translate, but I'm not super into it.

What else have you been reading this summer?

Well, the summer is just getting underway here in San Francisco, but prior to this I've been re-reading all of David Foster Wallace. I was invited to write an essay about Foster Wallace's "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" for the Quarterly Conversation and it got me back on a Foster Wallace kick. I've gone through everything but the Pale King, which is staring at me from my desk. I'm a little hesitant to try it, since reading something of his finished by somebody else strikes me as heretical. Curiosity will probably overtake me soon, though. For the rest of the summer, I'm going to try and catch up with new american poets. I just ordered Harmony Holiday's Negro League Baseball from Fence Books, which I'm excited about. Also on the docket are Matthea Harvey's "Of Lamb" (McSweeney's), and a friend just recommended Dora Malech's "Say So" (Cleveland State University Press).

A "Classic" you've been meaning to read?

I just had a daughter five months ago, and one of the best things about it is she is a captive listener. So far, the two of us have gone through Whitman, Dickinson, and T. S. Eliot. Eliot was her favorite. Next up is either Wallace Stevens or HD.
I'm also just beginning Ulysses (again), so we'll see how that goes. The classic I want to read is Joao Guimaraes Rosa's Grand Sertao: Veredas, which the Brazilian critics voted as the best book in recent Brazilian history and is sometimes called Brazil's Ulysses. It was only translated in English once, and (I hear) poorly and heavily edited. It's huge and a lot of it is written in Brazilian street slang, so it's a tough one. If anybody is translating it, send me a copy—I want to read it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July Trivia Contest Question #1:

In the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara has one child. How many does she have in the 1936 novel?

The contest is off and running! Be the first to email the answer to us at

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's Summertime!

According to, it is currently ninety degrees Fahrenheit in Bloomington, IN, with a heat index of a sweltering one hundred. After I'm done sweating it out in the office, I think I'm going to treat myself to some delicious froyo. In the meantime, though, I'm going to try and remind myself of all the reasons (well, ten of them) that summer should be celebrated. So, here goes:

1. As mentioned, frozen yogurt: the real thing.

2. Lounging by the pool with a good book: most recently, Cottonlandia, by Rebecca Black (this Rebecca Black), and In the Blue Pharmacy, by Marianne Boruch.

3. Listening to nineties jams (like this one and this one) that remind me of awkward, pre-adolescent summers in the suburbs of Ohio.

4. Reading publications like People, In Touch, and US Weekly without (too much) guilt.

5. Dancing it up to Lady Gaga's new album.

6. Orange nail polish.

7. Hammocks.

8. That the sun doesn't set until 9 pm, so there's lots of time in the day to write. Right?

9. Spending time with great friends.

10. Working at Indiana Review!

What are some of your favorite things about summer? Stay tuned for a new trivia question, coming tomorrow!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

From the Blue: Contributors Read and Recommend #4

In round 4 of our contributor interview series we spoke with Jim Daniel’s. Jim’s new and forthcoming collections include Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry, (Carnegie Mellon University Press), From Milltown to Malltown, a collaborative book with photographer Charlee Brodsky and writer Jane McCafferty (Marick Press), and All of the Above (Adastra Press).

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Memory Wall, stories by Anthony Doerr. He’s one of the best short story writers to emerge in recent years. I taught at Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Qatar a couple of years ago. One of my students gave me a copy of his earlier book The Shell Collector, and I loved it. He’s just a complete original, and I learn a lot from reading him. On the poetry side, I’m finally getting a chance to sink into the books I bought at the AWP Conference way back in February I think. I tend to read a lot of books of poetry simultaneously rather than read one all the way through, so I’m in the middle of a number of them.

What else have you been reading this summer?

A couple of smaller presses, Red Hen Press and Anhinga, have both been publishing some great books: Vanishing Horizon, which I think is Gerry LaFemina’s best book so far, and Michael Hettich’s Like Happiness. He’s one of those poets who has flown beneath the radar but has consistently produces strong work. Same with Bill Trowbridge’s Ship of Fools. He’s one of our great comic poets. I should give a shout out to Tropicalia, a very impressive debut book I just finished by Emma Trelles, who was my student back at Florida International University in 1993. Two other books I have my markers in now: Working in Flower by Jeff Friedman and Closing the Hotel Kitchen by Robert Bohm. Both strong, spirited voices.

I’ve got a big stack of summer books lined up. As usual, I expect not to get through them all, despite my best intentions. I’m always looking for fresh, new voices, and I hope to find some more this summer.

Blogs We Love

Recently, a writer friend of mine passed on a link to a pretty wonderful blog called ABOUTAWORD. Once a week, from January through June and August through November, this blog publishes a new short essay by a contemporary writer. I started with the most recent post--a remarkable essay on gardening written by our very own Ross Gay -- and I've been working my way back. Definitely consider adding this one to your Google Reader!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Announcing the Fourth Annual Blue Light Contest

It's July once more, and you know what that means, Blue Light Readers.  It's time for our annual trivia contest!  We had had so much fun with questions and answers last year, and we're very excited about this month's contest.  Winners will receive a free copy of our summer issue 33.1.

Here's all the info you need to know to win: the contest will run from July 6th to August 10th, with questions posed on the 13th, 20th, 27th, and 3rd. Answers should be emailed to us with the subject "Blue Light Contest."   We'll announce the winner each following Monday. Winners will be determined first by accuracy and then by response time, and will receive a free (that's right, free!) copy of our latest issue: Summer 2011 33.1.

This year's theme: Adaptations. Round 1 will be posted on July 13th.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July, July

Photo by brit_robin

Summer whisks by so fast! Lately: sparklers and personal fireworks available at the nearest grocery store, hours with Tetris (a dangerous game), and lots and lots of reading -- Alexander Theroux's The Strange Case of Edward Gorey, Ellen Lupton's Thinking with Type, 2nd edition, Min Jin Lee's Free Food for Millionaires, and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, to name a few. I marathon-read Lee's and Ishiguro's wonderful novels, but usually, I can't stick with one book; I go between stacks of them. I can't seem to read enough. I'm intrigued by The Millions' newest Book Preview and, particularly, The Atlantic Wire's media diet profiles, because when someone asks you what you're reading, you usually think of books. But what about the newspaper, RSS feeds, blogs, magazines? Not to mention: the visual, the auditory. And how does that play into your writing? People take from headlines, clip words from dictionaries, scroll through their social network feeds. Sometimes, I feel as though my reading gets in the way of my writing, but I like to think that the words and ideas and images lie in wait, somewhere, until they reappear.

Up next: our annual Trivia Contest!