The Lies, Libel, and Deceit of Molly McArdle: Rebuttal to a Hatchet Job, a Personal Reckoning with What I Actually Did, and an Exposé of Literary McCarthyism

On the evening of September 25, 2014, I did something awful and tried to kill myself the next morning. I lost everything I had. Is this apparent monster worth forgiving? Or is he not so much of a monster? This 50,000 word essay is a personal reckoning with what I did, who I really am, a treatise on public shaming and how we express ourselves and the importance of getting facts right, as well as a thorough rebuttal to the many invented charges against me.

Good Books Don’t Have to Be Read

A good book is one that we don’t actually read. And a good book is one that a writer doesn’t actually write. It’s what makes guilty pleasures so guilty. It’s what makes pleasurable guilt so pleasurable. A box of juice reeks of crass commercialism when we insert our straws and revert back to those childhood […]

BookExpo: The Myth of “Big Ideas”

There’s a desperate atmosphere evident even in the panels. And I’m not just talking about the execution, but the conception. One such panel that I walked out on, featuring the likes of Chris Anderson and Lev Grossman, was devoted to whether or not publishers still hold the keys to the castle. It was a sad […]

The Bat Segundo Show: Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #266. Catherynne M. Valente is most recently the author of Palimpsest. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Looking for a way into a secret city. Author: Catherynne M. Valente Subjects Discussed: Writing a novel with four character perspectives, how structure influences perspective, the importance of numbers, color theory, […]

Review: Blessed is the Match

The most truthful moment contained within Roberta Grossman’s documentary, Blessed is the Match, comes from parachutist Reuven Dafni. Dafni reveals, in what Grossman bills as his final interview, that he did not like the widely celebrated Hannah Senesh very much, but that he admired her stubbornness. One is curious to know why. But the question […]

The Bat Segundo Show: Paul Auster

Paul Auster appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #231. Auster is most recently the author of Man in the Dark. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Opening himself up to explanation. Author: Paul Auster Subjects Discussed: Starting a novel from a title, the advance titles contained within The Book of Illusions, the working title of The Music […]

Sandkings Indeed

A free trial creature creator from Spore has been released. The creatures here are too cutesy to be considered for practical battle concerns. There is a paucity of dangerous teeth and minatory claws. Is a ruthless and self-serving alien creature who will have some life form for lunch too much to ask from Maxis? Is […]

In Which I Encounter My Nemesis

At last night’s book launch party for Kate Christensen’s The Great Man, I observed a bald man — much shorter than I had expected — resembling a certain journalist working for Time Magazine. It was none other than Lev Grossman, my proud nemesis. Lev had been wiser than me in maintaining his bald form. I […]

_________ Is/Are Killing the Novel

Here’s a helpful list for New York freelancers who need to write a needlessly alarmist newspaper piece about what may be killing the novel. So if you’ve run out of ideas and don’t quite know an angle, here are some casuistic ideas for your future pitches! Remember, if you collect a check from any of […]


National Review: “One promising development in the culture today is that mainstream critics are more and more growing tired of postmodern fiction.” Actually, this is not promising at all. This is, in fact, a serious problem that runs counter to literature’s natural developments as a form. I will have a lengthy post on this subject […]

BSS #118: Austin Grossman

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Scared of Larry. Author: Austin Grossman Subjects Discussed: Retconned culture, the human qualities of superheroes, origin stories, the postmodernist trappings of comic book continuity constructs, grad school vs. superheroes, writing while driving, how Grossman’s work on video games influenced his work as a fiction writer, Max Allan Collins’s A Killing in […]

Lev and Austin

From an interview with Austin Grossman: “Practically speaking my brother Lev helped see the thing to publication – he saw it in its early stages and told me it was worth finishing in the first place, which helped enormously; and he introduced me to his agent, who encouraged me and helped me find my agent. […]


Rumors, put forth by San Diego literary agent Sandra Dijkstra, are now making the rounds that the San Diego Union-Tribune books section is dead. I have no wish to perpetuate a false rumor and I plan to make several calls tomorrow to confirm if this is indeed the case. (In the meantime, an email has […]

Tom McHale, novelist

Here’s how The Literary Encyclopedia’s entry on Tom McHale begins: In the 1970s, Tom McHale established himself as one of the most promising American novelists of his generation. In a little more than a decade, he produced more than a half-dozen novels that were widely reviewed. Most of those reviews were enthusiastically–sometimes wildly–positive. But even […]


I intended to link to it yesterday, but this week at the Litblog Co-Op, folks are discussing Marshall Klimasewiski’s The Cottagers. There’s talk of horrible vacations and, on Friday, a podcast interview will follow. Charles Shields reveals how he used the Internet to conduct research for his Harper Lee biography. George Eliot’s letters to Henry […]

Sleep-Deprived Roundup

Fans of books turned into Hollywood treacle rejoice! Pat Conroy, not to be confused with Pat Barker, is finishing his first novel in more than a decade. The new book is set in Charleston and is more than 700 pages. Take that, John Irving! USA Today has selected “25 books that leave a legacy.” Dan […]

Field Report: The NBCC Genre Panel

Richard Grayson, author of And to Think That He Kissed Him on Lorimer Street and With Hitler in New York and, most recently, the mastermind who fooled Gawker, attended yesterday morning’s NBCC panel on genre. He was kind enough to send in the following report, which reveals many interesting details: March 8, 2007, 11:00 AMThe […]

Lev Grossman Muzzled for Conducting Journalism?

New York Magazine: “In January, Time published an exclusive story on the new iPhone, in which writer Lev Grossman tweaked Apple CEO Steve Jobs about his secretive access to the product (‘I don’t call Steve, Steve calls me’) and suggested that Apple had ‘some explaining’ to do about backdated stock options. When the story hit […]


I was extremely bothered by this piece of wankery from the NBCC. And it wasn’t because my “nemesis” Lev Grossman was involved. The NBCC, you see, is hosting a panel on just how gosh darn hard it is to look at them crazy genre spooks that threaten to drive down the neighborhood property values, when […]

Gross Just Wants to Have Fun

Lev Baby, you were doing so well. And then you penned this silly puff piece on Harriet Klausner! Unmentioned in Mr. Grossman’s writeup is the fact that Klausner doesn’t write a single negative review, much less offer her audience anything more than a plot summary or an idea of who the book might appeal to […]


Daniel Olivas interviews Salvador Plascencia. Lev Grossman on the Ian McEwan mess: “The disparity between the greatness of McEwan’s achievement and the pettiness of this complaint is vertiginous. That McEwan even bothered to answer the charges is gobsmacking.” Five novels for your inner drunk. (via Books Inq.) 75 Books? Try committing 100 poems to memory […]


Mr. Sarvas talks with Jonathan Lethem on all matters Daniel Fuch. Ian McEwan is now fighting another plagiarism rap. RIP William Diehl. I’m sorry, but 1,500 words is not a novel. And what kind of life experience does a six year old have? Until this kid coughs up a gripping 75,000 word mystery about an […]

Jest Fest ’06

The Howling Fantods has word of Jest Fest ’06, an evening of DFW readings with such luminaries as Time‘s Lev Grossman, The Onion‘s Todd Hanson, Laura Miller, and bigtime DFW junkie John Krasinski (that dude who plays Jim from The Office, who you might recall is trying to get the film version of Brief Interviews […]