The October issue of Open Letters Monthly is up, and the editors are enjoying the brief interval fondly (or sometimes grudgingly — I’m looking at you, Steve Donoghue!) known as the “Basking Period,” in which we sit back and admire the results of our hard work — and, of course, the hard work of our excellent contributors.
One of this month’s highlights is our Bestseller Feature, in which we take a hard look at the NYT fiction bestsellers. As you might expect, things don’t often go that well for the poor bestsellers (Greg Waldmann’s takedown of James Patterson’s Alert is both harsh and hilarious, for instance), but there are some nice surprises too: check it out to read, among others, Steve Donoghue on Debbie Macomber, Sam Sacks on Kristin Hannah, John Cotter on Jonathan Kellerman, me on Paula Hawkins, and Rebecca Hussey on Jennifer Weiner.
Rebecca also contributed a smart, thoughtful review of Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City that made me even more interested in reading the book for myself (how I hadn’t even heard of Gornick until so recently is a puzzle to me). We’ve got a lovely essay-slash-review from Kerry Clare, as well, on Anne-Marie Macdonald’s Adult Onset; a fascinating piece from Victoria Olsen on the dancer Jane Avril; a review from Steve Donoghue of a new book on “The Rise and Fall of the House of Caesar” — plus other reviews, new poetry, and links back to our previous bestseller features from 2008 and 2009.
As always, I feel proud and happy to help bring so much good writing together for readers. I really think we offer a good experience for writers, too: our editing is attentive and rigorous and focused on bringing out the best in every contribution. The editors do it all on top of our “day jobs” and with essentially no budget: I suppose there’s a way in which that is not necessarily to be celebrated, but the results certainly are.