Laura Miller's Positive Criticism, Self-Publishing Boom, and More

Evan Smith Rakoff

Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

Activist punk band, Pussy Riot, has been sentenced to prison by Russian authorities, charged with “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” Literary magazine n+1 has published translations of their closing statements.

Meanwhile, social activists in Oakland have converted an abandoned building into a free library. (GalleyCat)

Laura Miller weighs in on the state of literary criticism, answering recent essays by Jacob Silverman in Slate, and Dwight Garner in the New York Times Magazine. Miller writes their "laments over the (highly debatable) scarcity of negative book reviews is at heart nostalgic." (Salon)

Molasses Books, a recently opened store in Brooklyn, New York, offers a barter service. Its customers can trade books for coffee, other books, and eventually, beer and wine. (Co.Exist.)

BuzzFeed rounded up thirty writing tips from acclaimed authors, including Elmore Leonard, Toni Morrison, and Edgar Allan Poe.

And Stylist selected its fifty favorite literary insults, including Shakespeare's, "Go shake your ears."

St. Mark's Bookshop in New York City successfully raised enough funds to enable it to set up shop in a smaller and less expensive location. (DNAInfo)

The New York Times examines the growing enterprise of self-publishing.