Today's Best Index Cards About Sharing Stuff on Social Media

I'm taking a social-media break and had some thoughts on how weird it is that so much of my headspace, and so much of the stuff I jot and share fairly regularly on social media, lives in a space that is not actually mine, is really mostly out of my control, and yet feels super personal in a way that is maybe not super comfortable.

(The cards above are like a baby version of the much better, much more precise ideas articulated in Sofia Samatar's Why You Left Social Media)

2018 Events

Here's where I'll be! If you're around please stop in and say hi:

More Chicago Events

Here's where I'll be and what I'll be doing in the next few weeks:

Thursday, 7:30 pm 9/14/17 at Women & Children First: A conversation with Jimin Han about her novel A Small Revolution. Facebook event page here.

Friday, 7:00 pm 9/15/17 at Volumes Cafe: The Hullaboo! at Volumes Cafe, with "Trivia, Drunk Spelling Bee, Haiku Smackdown, Bibliomancy, and More -- With Prizes!" with a bunch of awesome writers. Facebook event page here.

Thursday, 8:15 pm 9/21/17 at Women & Children First: Panel on the best books of 2017 so far, and part of the Andersonville Lit Crawl, with another bunch of awesome writers. More info here.

Monday, 7:00 pm 10/2/17 at the Public House Theatre: We Read Banned Books, an ACLU benefit, with music & some terrific Chicago writers. More info here.

Thursday, 5:00 pm 10/19/17 at the American Writers Museum: Authors Brenda Lozano and Juan Martinez in Conversation, part of the Lit & Luz Festival. More info here

Friday, 6:30 pm 10/20/17 at the Hideout: 20x20 Chicago How does it work? More info here.

sentient willis tower.jpg

Two More Events

This week! On Friday it's in Chicago & on Saturday it's Brooklyn (all promotional material copied and pasted from the respective Facebook events pages in the interest of expedience & clarity & laziness):

  1. Friday June 23 7 pm at the Book Cellar in Lincoln Square: MA/MFA Graduate and Faculty Reading Northwestern University MA/MFA program graduates J-L Deher-Lesaint, Virginia Rice Smith, and Cathy Beres, and fiction faculty Juan Martinez and Christine Sneed will read from recent works of prose and poetry. (Facebook event page)
  2. Satuday June 24 7 pm at Spoonbill & Sugartown: Join us Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers for a night of celebrating highly unusual debut fiction! Of Juan Martinez’s story collection Best Worst American, Booklist calls it “idiosyncratic” and “bluntly funny.” Etgar Keret says more simply: “I loved it,” while Kelly Link praises Martinez as “the master of the absurd.” Kirkus Reviews calls Jimin Han’s novel A Small Revolution “intriguing,” “suspenseful,” and “eerily timeless.” The late James Salter says Paul Cohen’s novel The Glamshack is “powerful” and “unusual.” From spooky Japanese girl ghosts to a hostage crisis that erupts from a love triangle to an a doomed affair that evokes the tragedy of the Plains Indian Wars, each of these debuts take unconventional approaches to universal stories. Martinez, Han, and Cohen will talk about their long journeys toward authorhood, their artistic choices, and what they’re working on now. (Facebook event page)

Try Anything

The freaking New York Times wrote a super nice, super generous review of Best Worst American. I'm thrilled, beyond thrilled, particularly about the reviewer's appreciation of "Northern," my favorite story in the collection and its "botched buttock-surgery" angle. Also thrilled that the wonderful art for the review prominently features the kitten poster art from Best Worst American's "Your Significant Other's Kitten Poster." 

OK, no. The reviewer didn't say people had to buy 500 copies of the book. But please do so anyway, preferably via your favorite indie bookstore or via Small Beer Press directly.

"The abyss broke your microwave..."

Hi! The Rumpus just published my poem, Tap.

The abyss broke your microwave...

Tap is part of this ongoing series, which started for unclear reasons shortly after November 8 2016. "Tap," a sad and weird poem, is of course not at all inspired by this sad, weird tweet:

Evanston & Arkansas Lit Festivals

Hi! Do you live in or near Little Rock, Arkansas? Or maybe you're in Evanston or close to Evanston? I'll be reading and talking and signing books in those places super soon alongside some amazing writers. Please come and say hi. The details (lifted straight from the festival brochures) follow below:

  • Masters of Form / Little Rock, AR (Saturday, April 29, 11:30 a.m., Arkansas Studies Institute, Room 124):  John Kessel's The Moon & The Other is "reminiscent of Huxley's best work, and the emphasis on gender politics puts it in dialog with the masterpieces of Le Guin, Delany, and Russ," according to Hugo– and Nebula Award–winning author Kim Stanley Robinson. Kelly Link calls Juan Martinez "a master of the absurd" while Kirkus Reviews says his Best Worst American features "twenty-four semi-existential short stories that have appeared in McSweeney's and Selected Shorts" injecting "absurdity into everyday life and humor into the phantasmagorical."
  • In Celebration of the Short Story / Evanston,, IL (Monday, May 8, 2017, 6:00pm, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman Avenue, Alley #1): Two locally based fiction writers and Northwestern creative writing professors, Juan Martinez and Christine Sneed, will read from their new story collections, Best Worst American and The Virginity of Famous Men, and discuss what they see as the rewards and pleasures of reading and writing short-form fiction. 

Nabokovilia in Elif Batuman's The Idiot!

Nabokov's Lectures on Literature shows up in Elif Batuman's The Idiot:

In the bookstore, waiting for Svetlana to finish comparing different editions of Beowulf, I started flipping through Nabokov's Lectures on Literature, and my attention was caught by a passage about math. According to Nabokov, when ancient people first invented arithmetic, it was an artificial system designed to impose order on the world. Over the course of centuries, as the system grew more and more intricate, "mathematics transcended their initial condition and became as it were a natural part of the world to which they had been merely applied... The whole world gradually turned out to be based on numbers, and nobody seems to have been surprised at the queer fact of the outer network becoming an inner skeleton."

Suddenly, all kinds of things I had learned in school seemed to fit together. Could it be true, what Nabokov said -- that the abstract calculations had come first, and only later turned out to describe reality? (109)

Readings & Signings & AWP Panels!

I'm going to AWP in Washington DC and doing two panels, plus a signing, plus a reading for Best Worst American and would love to see you and talk with you at one of them. Or at all of them! Seriously. I'm also reading in Chicago and in Little Rock.

Here's where I'll be:

  1. Signing! Thursday, February 9, 10:00 am-10:30 am: At the AWP Small Beer Press table (Washington, DC)
  2. Talking!/Paneling! Saturday, February 11, 12:00pm-1:15pm, At this panel: "Immigrants/Children of Immigrants: a Non-traditional Path to a Writing Career" (with Ken Chen, Monica Youn, Marie Myung-OK Lee, and Irina Reyn). Location: Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four (Washington, DC)
  3. Talking!/Paneling! Saturday, February 11, 4:30pm-5:45pm, At this panel: "The Short Story as Laboratory" (with Lesley Nneka Arimah, Carmen Maria Machado, Kendra Fortmeyer, and Sofia Samatar) Location: Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
  4. Reading! (with Kelly Freaking Link!) Saturday, February 11, 6:00pm-8:00pm at Politics and Prose (Facebook event page here) (Washington DC)
  5. Reading! Thursday, February 16, 7:30pm-9:30pm at Women and Children First (Facebook event page here) (Chicago IL)
  6. Reading! Monday, February 27 at 6:30pm at Curbside Books and Records (More info here, Facebook event page here) (Chicago IL)
  7. Talking! in April at the Arkansas Literary Festival (Little Rock AR)
I'm so sorry for all the self-promotion! The robot says if I don't self-promote the h*ck out of this book he will do something unspeakable with this pencil. Blame the robot don't blame me. The robot demands that you buy 500 copies of my book thank you.

I'm so sorry for all the self-promotion! The robot says if I don't self-promote the h*ck out of this book he will do something unspeakable with this pencil. Blame the robot don't blame me. The robot demands that you buy 500 copies of my book thank you.