I discovered Literary Hub yesterday when I wrote about Mario Vargas Llosa’s new book, Notes on the Death of a Culture. I’ve had lots of fun looking around the website, which Literary Hub describes the purpose of as follows:
Literary Hub is an organizing principle in the service of literary culture, a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life. There is more great literary content online than ever before, but it is scattered, easily lost—with the help of its editorial partners, Lit Hub is a site readers can rely on for smart, engaged, entertaining writing about all things books. Each day—alongside original content and exclusive excerpts—Literary Hub is proud to showcase an editorial feature from one of its many partners from across the literary spectrum: publishers big and small, journals, bookstores, and non-profits.
Following this description is an impressive list of partners including a number of major publishers, booksellers, and review journals. One could probably spend an enjoyable evening just clicking through the links of all the partners!
The home page is topped by a graphic banner highlighting current top literary stories on the site. Presently these include “Writing a Novel Limited to the 483 Words Spoken to Ophelia,” “How a Self-Published Writer of Gay Erotica Beat Sci-fi’s Sad Puppies at Their Own Game,” “Death is Actually Very Funny: A Last Conversation with Max Ritvo,” “Mario Vargas Llosa: How Global Entertainment Killed Culture” (from which yesterday’s post was inspired), and “On Writing, Parenthood and Trying to Stay a Little Wild.” Probably something there will grab your attention, if not all.
In the left column, you can click on excerpts of recently released books, a good way to sample before you buy. The center column highlights a few other feature stories. The right column highlights “Lit Hub Daily”, featuring on September 7:
- Harold Bloom on Alvin Feinman, a “poet of astonishing individuation.”
- On White Noise and college move-in day.
- Tommy Pico on his debut book.
- Why the man behind “Born to Run” is also “a born memoirist.”
Across the top of the page, you also have a menu which duplicates some of these items. From left to right you have:
- Bookmarks: Clicking this takes you to visual representations of bookcovers of current books with a bookmark containing a “grade” based on an “average” of at least three reviews. Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth received an A+. On the other hand Jonathan Safran Foer’s Here I Am only rated a C+. You can click on the cover to go to a page that includes relevant excerpts of reviews with a link to the full review. Highlighted are new books, most reviewed books and best reviewed. You may also search a number of categories of books listed on the right side of the page.
- Features: This includes a fuller list of featured articles. Since I’ve spent some time interviewing booksellers, I liked “Interview with a Bookstore: Carmichael’s Books.”
- Excerpts: Similar to “Features”, this expands the list of excerpts from books from the few highlighted on the home page. Good feature. I read one from a book with an intriguing title. Decided the title was more intriguing than the excerpt.
- Bookshelf includes the covers of books mentioned in articles in Literary Hub. Clicking on the cover will take you to the article. Mousing over it shows you a box telling you what article or articles the book is mentioned in. These include everything from new books to classics like Ivan Illych.
- Lit Hub Daily is collection of the best of the literary internet collected daily. This one sounded interesting:
- Why the man behind “Born to Run” is also “a born memoirist.” Dave Kamp profiles Bruce Springsteen ahead of his 500-page memoir. | Vanity Fair
- The last is the already mentioned About page. In addition to the glorious collection of links to publishers, booksellers, and review journals is a link at the bottom to the “masthead” for Literary Hub.
While of course I hope that for those reading this that Bob on Books will be a kind of “literary hub,” I have to admit that I appreciated the quality of writing, the variety of features, and the breadth of content from across the literary landscape brought together on Literary Hub. I’ve bookmarked it and look forward to returning. Now, if they can just get an app for that…