TheNervousBreakdown.com, which shares fiction, essays and poetry with more than 50,000 readers every month, is now offering book reviews

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (February 2010) – The Nervous Breakdown (TNB) has built a devoted following of over 50,000 unique readers per month since launching a brand new design with expanded content and functionality on November 15th, 2009.

Since then, the site has featured work and “self-interviews” by celebrated authors such as Stuart Dybek, Stephen Elliott, and Jami Attenberg, and by celebrities such as comedian Margaret Cho and radio personality Karith Foster.

Now, responding to the slaughter of innocent book review inches from newspapers and magazines across the country, TNB has partnered with reviewers Angela Stubbs, John Madera, Dika Lam and TNB’s own fiction editor Gina Frangella to introduce four new monthly review columns. The columns will feature a range of coverage for both new and under-reported books, as well as a look back at titles whose impact may be seen in the work of emerging talent.

Angela Stubbs is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in PopMatters, LitPark, The Collagist and Bookslut with work forthcoming from Area Sneaks and The Rumpus.

Angela’s column, “Between the Pen and Paper,” offers insightful perspective into primarily new titles. Her first column will consider work from dynamic and innovative houses such as Coffee House Press, McSweeney’s, and Open City, but will venture to include anything new that catches her attention.

John Madera’s reviews may be found in The Brooklyn Rail, Bookslut, The Collagist, DIAGRAM, Fiction Writers Review, The Millions, The Quarterly Conversation, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, New Pages and Open Letters Monthly.

John’s column, “A Reader’s Log(orrhea)”, invites readers along on his unique monthly journey through the literary landscape—a journey with stops along the way for everyone from greats like William Gass to the challenging authors of small presses like Tarpaulin Sky.

Dika Lam’s short fiction has been nominated for Canada’s Journey Prize and has appeared in numerous venues including Story, One Story, Scribner’s Best of the Fiction Workshops 1999, This Is Not Chick Lit (Random House, 2006), and A Stranger Among Us (OV Books, 2008).

Dika’s column “Love and Squalor” is both a nod to Salinger’s story and a reminder of two crucial ingredients that often go missing from contemporary storytelling. It will include reviews of fiction with international settings, with a special emphasis on story collections, translations, and books that blur genres.

Finally, in “New to the Party,” TNB fiction editor Gina Frangello will focus on the vibrant, if unspoken, dialogue literature carries across generations. Gina will consider one recent novel or short story collection per month in more significant depth than is usually permitted in this era of shrinking reviews space, and will then make recommendations of (slightly or much) older titles that fall into a similar literary tradition and may appeal to the same readers.

About TheNervousBreakdown.com

Founded in 2006 by Los Angeles author Brad Listi (Attention. Deficit. Disorder.), The Nervous Breakdown offers fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry from nearly 200 fresh voices worldwide.


Founding Editor: Brad Listi. Executive Editor: Jonathan Evison. Senior Editor: Greg Olear. Nonfiction Editors: Greg Boose & Erika Rae.  Associate Nonfiction Editors:  Zara Potts & J.M. Blaine. Fiction Editors: Gina Frangello & Stacy Bierlein. Associate Fiction Editors: Alexander Chee & Shya Scanlon. Poetry Editors: Rich Ferguson & Milo Martin. Associate Poetry Editors: Uche Ogbuji & Jennifer Duffield White. Arts & Culture Editors: Megan DiLullo & Rob Bloom. Associate Arts & Culture Editors: Kimberlee Auerbach & Simon Smithson.

Visit www.thenervousbreakdown.com.

Contact information

Kari Johnson Publicist

[email protected]

Brad Listi – Founding Editor

[email protected]

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SHYA SCANLON is the Fiction Reviews Editor for The Nervous Breakdown. Scanlon's work has appeared in the Mississippi Review, Literary Review, New York Quarterly, Guernica Magazine, Opium Magazine, and others. His book of prose poetry, In This Alone Impulse, was published by Noemi Press in January, 2010. In 2009, his novel Forecast was serialized online across 42 journals and literary blogs as part of the Forecast 42 Project. Forecast will be published by Flatmancrooked in December, 2010. He received his MFA from Brown University, where he was awarded the John Hawkes Prize in Fiction. Please visit him at www.shyascanlon.com.

21 responses to “TNB Fiction Reviews!”

  1. Shya! Thanks for the shout on this! New work tomorrow for TNB readers over at “Between the Pen and Paper” so stay tuned!!!!

  2. Greg Olear says:

    It’s great we’re doing this.

  3. Shya Scanlon says:

    It’s a fantastic addition to the TNB experience. Please consider sending a link to this page around to your readerly friends, your publisher, your agent, or anyone else you think might be interested in reading these great literary musings, or who might want to send their book(s) to one of the fine reviewers…

  4. Great addition to TNB. I always enjoy a good book or film review. I’ve bought so many books in the past months after learning about them on this site.

  5. John Madera says:

    Thanks again, Shya! I’m happy to be in such fine company.

  6. This is a fantastic idea. My reading list (of contemporary literature) pretty much consists of stuff I read about here.

  7. Don Mitchell says:

    Will there be a mechanism through which TNBers can suggest new works for review? Perhaps we’d have to promise that we’ve read them ourselves, and have been blown away (or not, I guess).

    • Shya Scanlon says:

      Well, Don, I’m not sure there will be an official channel for such suggestions, per se. You should certainly feel free to comment on the individual columns when they’re posted, and I suppose if you make a strong enough case for the book in question, the reviewer might well pick it up. But the conditions of our agreement with them are wide open, and what they read and review is entirely up to them. We think this is the most sure way to get lively, personal reviews…

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    Booya! Can’t wait!

  9. Judy Prince says:

    Sounds terrific, Shya; TNB works!

  10. Ben Loory says:

    is everyone here an editor but me?

    i feel small.

    • Ben, you’re the secret editor. We’ve been over this.

    • Shya Scanlon says:

      I need an editor. How about I start forwarding you my emails before I send them out?

      • Ben Loory says:

        when i was in college i once snuck into my roommate’s room and replaced all the spaces in his term paper with the word “pig.”

        just by way of a warning…

        • Judy Prince says:

          Ben, justpigsawpigthispigandpiglovepigit!!!

        • Ben Loory says:

          yeah, me too… i laughed my ass off. he did too, after the initial shock. and, i must say, i did save the original so there’d be no chance of totally fucking it up.

        • Judy Prince says:

          Yeah, Ben, prolly better to have a safety net—after all, he was your roommate. Your trick was beautifully superior to the short-sheeting the bed and putting plastic wrap under the toilet seat I’ve done. And that was just this year. Lucky for me, dear Rodent isn’t terribly vindictive. Only thing he did was flush my senior bus card. I vaselined the handles of his walker. The usual stuff. Youpigrockpig!!!

    • Ben, I’ve received at least a dozen notes from writers querying us about “New, Notable and Noted” in the Fiction Section, who came to us because they loved your story “The Book.” Seriously. I should probably have forwarded these all to you, but my head is usually on the verge of explosion with busyness so I didn’t . . . but I have meant to mention it to you. That piece rocked lots of readers’ worlds.

  11. Oh, and let me echo Shya here that we want all TNBers to spread the word that we are a dedicated book review venue. With the Incredibly Shrinking Books Sections of major newspapers and magazines, the publishing world has already taken a lot of interest in the launch of our Fiction Section and I’ve been receiving galleys of books from publishers like Algonquin and FSG in droves (I have a “galley” bookshelf now, thanks to TNB!) We’d like all the publishers, as well as agents and editors, to know about us, so that John, Ang and Dika can be slammed with galleys too, and so that new readers start coming to TNB for the reviews, and then of course . . . well, probably realize the reviews are the least raucous thing on the site and stay around for the general party, and recommend the site to all their friends, and TNB’s quest for world domination continues . . .
    Also: while the formal reviews columns will not be reviewing work by TNB contributors, the comments boards are a great place to mention other good books, including those by our ranks. And I definitely would like to see some kind of seasonal/yearly round-up of all the fiction titles released lately by TNB contributors become a regular feature of the Fiction Section, so please, all fiction writers on TNB, if you have a new book coming up, remember that you are not only eligible for a Featured Author slot in the Fiction Section, but if possible send me a note ([email protected]) or even a galley of your book so I can keep these in the queue for some TNB-Extravaganza book posts!

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