While some may despair the death of the modern blogger, newsletters are growing exponentially into a vibrant, gem-droppin’ community, especially in the literary sphere. Often considered the best way to reach fans and grow your following, the finest literary newsletters give us insight via authentic content into the minds of their creators. Whether you need a pick-me-up, a kick-in-the-pants, a new book recommendation, or the creme de la creme de la Web de la week, these newsletters will feed your craving, and also give you some ideas if you’re interested in starting a newsletter of your own.
With Love and Squalor
Esmé Weijun Wang has had quite a year. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was published by Unnamed Press to critical acclaim, and she was diagnosed with late-stage Lyme disease. Billed as being for “ambitious creatives living with limitations,” Esmé writes in her newsletter with empathy, heart, and understanding about how to get over creative humps, how to live with an invisible illness, even how to adopt a daily tarot practice to spark inspiration and guide your outlook. Complete with gorgeous, uber-zen photographs and always a helpful word if you’re feeling stuck, With Love and Squalor is an absolute must-subscribe.
“Crying in public. Somewhat weekly.” Well, show me a sensitive creative who can’t relate to that? Helena Fitzgerald doesn’t follow a strict schedule with her newsletter, preferring instead to write as the muse leads her. With heartfelt simplicity, she ponders everything from the sweaty sexiness of a New York heat wave to a memory of walking through London in winter. All her essays end with an air of bittersweetness and hope, and you won’t be able to help feeling whole again after a reminiscence on Frank O’Hara and “a long future crowded into a small moment.”
Off the Shelf
Off the Shelf is the be-all, end-all newsletter if you are craving some sweet book recommendations. You can customize your subscription, whether you want it daily or weekly, and will be guaranteed A+ content no matter where you literary interests lie. For instance: Want a round-up of what the hunks of @HotDudesReading are getting into on the F train? Off the Shelf is your answer. How about the best fiction with dogs? Are you true crime crazy? A Shakespeare nerd? Saw the film and want the source? With the Off the Shelf newsletter, you’ll get it all.
Larissa Pham’s fantastic newsletter on “the dirty, the gritty, the ecstatic,” Cum Shots, may have been lain to rest, but she still keeps up with her readers via Intimacies. Larissa writes about BDSM, vibrators, and the art of the perfect sext with incredible wit and the kind of tender longing we can all relate to, even if dog collars aren’t necessarily your thing. Her novella, Fantasians, is coming out this October from Badlands Unlimited. Get on the Pham train now before she launches into the stratosphere!
Maria Popova’s Brainpickings calls itself a “free interestingness weekly digest” that picks from the week’s best articles, mostly curated around a theme of how to live a good life, what matters in an over-saturated world of information, and being better. Whether your pleasure is psychology, art, literature, or monkeys and their cloth mothers, Brainpickings has absolutely everything. It’s Popova’s labor of love, and that love shines through unblinking, week after week.