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Thread: Anyone want to talk about the journals we read?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Anyone want to talk about the journals we read?

    I thought it might be fun and interesting to discuss the works found in literary journals and magazines. I have been reading a lot of them and would love people to talk to about them. Anyone else interested in this? Any thoughts about what current issues are really good? I do hope this thread gets responses.

  2. #2
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    I just thought there are some stories in these journals that really inspire writers, and reading them also is a good way to gage what is in. It seems like Mainstream/Contemporary/Literary is not posted in too often and I was hoping this could liven things up. Why didn't this work? Is no one else reading these journals?

  3. #3
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    Was there a specific story that launched this thread idea? Which one? Which publication? If you get the ball rolling, I'm sure others will chime in.
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  4. #4
    tbh, the only literary journal I used to read on consistent weekly basis was the new yorker. then my print subscription ran out. i might start reading more journals/magazines if you have any suggestions.

  5. #5
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    Maybe this makes me a total wiener, but I don't really read any literary journals. I should, but I don't. My time is very limited and I tend to read novels when I have some opportunity to read. Novels, or else nonfiction for research for the novels I'm writing, or to inspire more ideas for future novels.

    I do, however, listen to short fiction podcasts, like the ones NPR does and some others whose names currently escape me. Once I find a writer whose short works I like, I start buying their collections and reading those, or else I follow them from short fiction to novels.

  6. #6
    Nerdy Budgie Literateparakeet's Avatar
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    My trouble is finding a literary journal I enjoy. When it comes to books, I read voraciously from a variety of genres. But the literary magazines and short stories I have read so far leave me flat.

    I wonder if I should forget short story writing and focus on novels since magazine editors and I don't seem to have the same taste. I do like short stories though, mostly fantasy and classics (Hemmingway).

    For now, I've decided to try a few more magazines and read/write a few more short stories. We'll see. . .

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    You must enjoy the ones you are trying to write for, no?

    I highly recommend The Gettysburg Review. There is a story in the current issue called The Last Con. It is really good. I think the others are great as well. The Gettysburg Review feels very current (more so than other journals) to me.

    A journal that surprised me was American Short Fiction. I did not expect it to be as good as it is. The current issue is very entertaining.

    I also recently started reading the print McSweeney's I picked up number 35 and number 38. After reading these issues, I am tempted to subscribe. Both issues have stories by Roddy Doyle who is brilliant.

    I also have the current issues of Tin House and The Paris Review if anyone else is reading those.

  8. #8
    Worst song played on ugliest guitar Libbie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    You must enjoy the ones you are trying to write for, no?
    All my published short fiction is sci-fi. I haven't yet written a literary short piece, so I've never really ventured into figuring out which literary fiction journals I enjoy. (Although I do have a sci-fi story that seems to be too literary for all the sci-fi markets, so I might try it in some lit journals soon.)

    My current focus with my literary fiction is long form (novels, novellas), so that's largely what I read, and yes, I do enjoy it.

  9. #9
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    - I went to read "The Last Con" in the latest Gettysburg Review, only to learn I don't have the latest (if the lastest is Spring 2012--when did it come out?). If it arrives soon, I'll read the story and get some blood into this thread.

    -Meanwhile, gettingby, why not jump over to their website, pick a selection from the sample area, and we can all have a party?
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  10. #10
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    I got my spring issue about a month ago. I know I mentioned The Last Con, but all the stories are pretty good.
    Last edited by gettingby; 04-13-2012 at 08:21 AM.

  11. #11
    practical experience, GTFO
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    Are there any excellent literary journals who publish quality short stories online? Interstitial, weird or fantastic fiction is alright, too, as long as it's good.

  12. #12
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    Okay, I'm not going to push this. It seems like no one here is reading the literary journals, and I think that's sad. You guys are missing out.

  13. #13
    Nerdy Budgie Literateparakeet's Avatar
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    I'm finding that I enjoy The Kenyon Review. I liked the 1st place winner on their website. Liked it, didn't love it. But I love the story I just read in the Spring 2011 issue, War Wounds by Hasanthika Sirisena. It was very gripping to me, with great tension. It's one of those stories that I think will linger with me a few days.

    I also really enjoyed the first story in Stupefying Stories Jan 2012, Morality for Alchemists and Thieves by L. Joseph Shosty. It's fantasy, and while it did leave me with a bit of "did I miss something, that couldn't be the end" feeling. I really enjoyed it. It's been a week or so since I read it, so it made some impression.

    I ordered issues of Glimmer Train and Segullah, and look forward to reading them.

  14. #14
    Nerdy Budgie Literateparakeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orchestra View Post
    Are there any excellent literary journals who publish quality short stories online? Interstitial, weird or fantastic fiction is alright, too, as long as it's good.
    Have you read Blackbird?

    http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/v10n2/

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW flapperphilosopher's Avatar
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    I'd really like to start getting into reading literary journals, it's just accessing them is tricky. I really don't have any spare money right now so I can't buy or subscribe, and my library doesn't have ANY. I suppose I could sneak into the university library sometimes, but even getting to the university library isn't super easy (though I should note that as something to do some day off). I'd love to get a feel for what's in them, and I'm working on reading loads of short stories so I can maybe eventually write some decent ones, and if so submit them... but sadly right now I pretty much can't. I also think it's sad that not many of us read them, but I certainly applaud your efforts!!
    My (non-writing) blog: The Passion of Former Days, connecting to the people of the past through pictures

  16. #16
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    Here's some online-only stuff from AGNI. There are four stories in the 2012 catagory. Might as well start with the first one, "The Pink Cat." It's a vicious little story that will probably either strike a chord or hit a nerve.

    http://www.bu.edu/agni/fiction.html#2012
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    Why, yes I do have a book on Smashwords. Thank you for asking. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95913

  17. #17
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    Alright. Got my copy of Gettysburg Review.

    -Yeah, I didn't much care for "The Last Con." I found a lot of it implausible. How is it Clyde knew nothing about Erica, despite the fact that his best freind James was close enough to her to make plans to shack up? How is Clyde didn't even know how the two met? A "Nice to finally meet you" or "I've heard so much about you" or "At last we meet" would seem to ring more true. I just couldn't believe Clyde and James were all that close, even though the story told us they were.

    -Also, I don't know much about the comic-con culture. It would be nice to get some idea of why this junk culture stuff is so important to people like James and Clyde.

    Around the middle fo page 153: "Clyde wasn't into cosplay." I had to look that up. Some nerdy costume thing, I gathered.

    So, I learned a new word and got some clues on what to avoid and what to put in. Not a waste of time.
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    Why, yes I do have a book on Smashwords. Thank you for asking. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95913

  18. #18
    Nerdy Budgie Literateparakeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amos Gunner View Post
    Here's some online-only stuff from AGNI. There are four stories in the 2012 catagory. Might as well start with the first one, "The Pink Cat." It's a vicious little story that will probably either strike a chord or hit a nerve.

    http://www.bu.edu/agni/fiction.html#2012
    Great idea. I'll read it as soon as I get a minute and report back.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi there! I'm new around these parts, but thought I'd jump into this conversation because I read a lot of literary magazines and am generally a huge mouthbreathing dork about it.

    I live in a large, extremely artsy college town in Massachusetts, so part of the reason I read so many magazines is that access to them is really really good (even our local Barnes and Nobles stocks some). As others have said, The New Yorker and McSweeney's are really good. (Roddy Doyle is my jam. Always. What a badass.)

    Some other good magazines to try (in rough order of availability):

    -The Paris Review (thoughtful, litsnob, very highbrow, rarely anything but realist, really excellent interviews and criticism.)

    -The Kenyon Review (similar)

    -Tin House (tends to be more variable in genre-- they do themed quarterly issues-- although also more variable in quality, in my opinion. They also have good interviews from time to time.)

    -The Massachusetts Review (some great, very well-established writers regularly publish here, but also some up-and-comers, which I like)

    -The Common (published through Amherst College. Great small magazine, very, very professional, more very respectable litfic names doing their thang.)

    Overall, if lit magazines usually aren't your thing, I'd start with Tin House and The Paris Review.

  20. #20
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    Anyone who'd type all that out must be using "litsnob" with loving affection.
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    Why, yes I do have a book on Smashwords. Thank you for asking. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95913

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amos Gunner View Post
    Anyone who'd type all that out must be using "litsnob" with loving affection.
    The affectionate-est. I feel like the content of The Paris/Kenyon Reviews can get very much up its own ass and scornful of anything that takes place outside the Academy every once in awhile, but it doesn't stop me from loving the magazines the other 90 percent of the time and the content they produce. They're allowed to be a little snotty. They're the freaking Paris/Kenyon Reviews.

  22. #22
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    I have subscriptions to Tin House and Ecotone. I enjoy Indiana Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Glimmertrain to name a few. I pick up lit mags at Half-Price Books for $1, and have been reading around to find my favorites.

    I'm also a fan of following the author bios. If there is a story that really grabs me I will see where else they have published and order single issues of those magazines.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW
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    I just ordered The Missouri Review to add to my collection. I haven't read it before, but it was only $20 for the year.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW djunamod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gettingby View Post
    You must enjoy the ones you are trying to write for, no?
    This might be making a bit of an assumption as to what market many writers here are aiming form . I, and I'm sure this is true of many of us here, write what might be called "literary" fiction but I am really interested in longer works that don't get published in literary journals. So I prefer to read what is more appropriate for what I want to publish (i.e., novels) than spend what precious little time I have on reading literary journals.

    Like many have said here, I just never found the fiction in literary journals all that appealing. I would much rather read classic novels that can really teach me something about writing and how to engage a reader in the story than a shorter work in a literary magazine which might be geared more towards giving a university's creative writing students a place to publish their work than in engaging an audience (not saying that this is always the goal, but it might be).

    Not saying literary journals are bad in any way - I hope they are around for many many years .

    Djuna

  25. #25
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    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    This thread sucks. And it shouldn't.
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    Why, yes I do have a book on Smashwords. Thank you for asking. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95913

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