The Millions: The Best Book Blog, Bar None
August 20, 2009 2:39 PM   Subscribe

The Millions, online since 2003, is a book blog of exceptional breadth and depth, and "an independent literature and culture publication that pays its writers." Until recently, that breadth and depth was hard to fathom, as the site had outgrown its infrastructure. Now, however, its excellent features are easy to find, as are series like The Future of the Book, Ask a Book Question, and The Millions Interview. Superb reviews can be found as they happen or in the Book Review Index, and, a vestige of when The Millions was a one man operation, you can find out what C. Max Magee, founder of The Millions, is reading on the Book Lists page.

Some excellent recent essays:

Julia Child and the Ethical Appeal
by Garth Risk Hallberg
It's not often we think of recipes as a form of literature, but they are as formally exacting as the Spenserian stanza. And, as anyone who's ever ruined $40 worth of lamb knows, the stakes are higher. So Julia Child turns out not only to have been a kind of unfussy feminist; she was also a terrific writer.
Summer of My Discontent by Lydia Kiesling
Sometimes I read a novel that drags, and then another that drags, and then another, and before long I have spurned books in favor of internet television, Calvin and Hobbes, and puerile blogs.
Nabokov, Wallace, and the Incredible Shrinking Book by Belazel Stern
Why is it that books are being published in the contemporary market that don’t have the length or stamina of books? I am thinking, in particular, of David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech to the Kenyon College 2005 graduating class, published posthumously as This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life. I had read the commencement speech long before it was officially published. In fact, shortly after Wallace delivered it a friend sent it to me over e-mail. It took me about fifteen minutes to read. And I read slowly.
posted by ocherdraco (12 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Great post. I've been a daily reader of the Millions since it was mentioned in some book AskMe a few months back. I really enjoyed their coverage of the Rooster as well.
posted by farishta at 3:38 PM on August 20, 2009

This is great! I think I've found a new regular read! Thanks, ocherdraco.
posted by brundlefly at 3:40 PM on August 20, 2009

This piece is really funny because of how its smug, affected pretension undermines its own argument.
posted by nasreddin at 4:01 PM on August 20, 2009

Hey, wow. Thanks for featuring us. It's been a lot of hard work getting the site to where it is today, and I especially would not have been able to do it without a terrific group of writers who regularly outshine my own writerly abilities (...and if any of you clever mefites think you might be interested in writing something for us, drop me a line).

We're very proud of the new look, and, as much as I love our bloggy roots, our hope is that it lends some legitimacy to the idea that we're part of the vanguard of independent sites filling the gap as cultural coverage shrinks elsewhere. In the interest of spreading the wealth, I invite you to take a gander at our (still under reconstruction) Links page for a bunch of other sites we think are worth reading that cover some of the same ground that we do.
posted by cmaxmagee at 4:58 PM on August 20, 2009 [5 favorites]

I may have attempted and failed to read this site in the past. Perhaps it was for interface-design reasons, and I will have better luck this time.
posted by grobstein at 5:24 PM on August 20, 2009

The re-design is fantastic!

I used to check out The Millions regularly, but less and less over time, as it took so long to load.

Happy day!
posted by subatomiczoo at 5:40 PM on August 20, 2009

I believe that should read "... you can find out what Metafilter's Own™ C. Max Magee, founder of The Millions ..."
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 6:25 PM on August 20, 2009

Ugh, DingusRyanHatesPreview
posted by NolanRyanHatesMatches at 6:26 PM on August 20, 2009

Bookmarked! Now, if there were only time enough to read...
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:14 PM on August 20, 2009

We recently had the post on "I've just finished reading _________" that linked to several suggestions for similar books. I think they could improve the suggestion site, by linking directly to the Millions. I'm finding a ton of interesting ideas for future reading. I love the "Staff Picks".

Thanks for the FPP, ocherdraco.

And thanks for the blog cmaxmagee.
posted by Edward L at 8:35 PM on August 20, 2009

David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech to the Kenyon College 2005 graduating class, published posthumously

Sounds like a crucial addition to my bookshelf, but I'm holding out for "Everybody's Free to Wear Sunscreen," the novel.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:01 PM on August 20, 2009

Thanks for the FPP. I have been reading the Millions for years, hoping against hope that cmax's list would start to get shorter (they never do do they), but i had lost my bookmark accidentally in a purge and had lost touch for awhile. Days if not weeks of browsing await as i get refamiliar.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:45 PM on August 20, 2009

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