This Week in Words – July 7

by Treehouse Editors

compiled by Rachel Bondurant

Happy Independence Day (weekend), readers!
Flavorwire is celebrating this national holiday with a list of ten “quintessentially American” novels. Each selection on the list exemplifies the struggle, beauty, and triumph of life in America and the pursuit of the American Dream. Surely Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas includes some of those themes somehow…right?

The Four Letter Word
Mary Norris with The New Yorker wrote a fun little piece on the magazine’s Page Turner blog. The piece talks about dealing with the word “fuck” as a copy editor of a major magazine, and how the attitude toward profanity has evolved in the literary world. Norris also explains the importance of “an activating hyphen” to the meaning of a compound noun like “star-fucker.” Well, hey, you learn something new every day.

Snail Mail!
The Rumpus is an online endeavor like us. But early this year, they introduced their very own print subscription called “Letters in the Mail.” (Whether this idea was created to increase readership or simply to show off is unclear.) For $5 a month (domestic; it’s $10 for international subscribers) you get three or four letters from well-known authors care of The Rumpus. Some of the authors type their letters, others write by hand. A few of them will include a return address so you can write back. Maybe it’s just me, but there is something especially gratifying about receiving real mail. Add to that the possibility of receiving mail from creative people I admire, and suddenly it’s Christmas every week.

Lit Mags that Aren’t Us
Just one this week. Trop is an online magazine named for the Metropolis Café in Milledgeville, Georgia where its creators first gathered before scattering across the country. What caught my eye here (besides the interviews – interviews, guys!) was that at first glance, you can’t really tell what’s going on. However, the “about” page sets you to rights: “The first thing to know about Trop is that most of us are fiction writers, loyal to our voices before anything, and to putting into the world exactly what we want to show.” As a result, the columns can consist of fact, fiction, and anything in between. To temper their “expressive approach to content,” the mag’s contributors offer a commentary (reviews, interviews, and essays) on a separate page within the site. Most importantly, they seem to embrace a little bit of weird, and here at Treehouse, we love weird.