Dealing with that which is self-made

Mark Sarvas and I guest-edited the latest Boldtype (the “Self-Made” issue), and he didn’t throttle me once. He’s a saint, that Mark.

A blog discussing the review selections — particularly the way fellow book blogger Laila Lalami’s first short story collection came to be among them — was supposed to launch with the reviews, but there’s been some sort of technical glitch. We’re supposed to direct you to a preview of the issue until they get the kinks worked out.

I’m also posting, without permission, a brief excerpt from my first entry on the Self-Made blog:

I didn’t expect [Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits] to be in the running for this issue. You’ll probably remember that when we were first throwing ideas around with Boldtype, I said, “Another book that could fit this theme is Laila Lalami’s debut short story collection, Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. I don’t think we should include it because Lalami is a book blogger, and we wouldn’t want to be accused of nepotism. But it’s a solid debut collection, and I hope you’ll keep it in mind in the future.”

Then the longlist of recommendations came in, and one of Boldtype’s usual nominating crew — someone who’s not a book blogger — had suggested Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits for inclusion. So I thought, well, if somebody else thinks it should be in there, and I think it’s a good book and one that fits the theme, why not include it?

I’ve had second and third and seventieth thoughts since then.

I know we didn’t have control over the reviewer’s reaction…. But the fact remains: we’re book bloggers, and we compiled a shortlist that includes another book blogger’s debut effort. What would Jennifer Howard say? And would she be right?

The rest, including Mark’s response, goes live on Friday.


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