From Electric Lit:
I get more email in a day than I can keep up with, let alone respond to.
Most of us do. Collectively, we sent an estimated 319 billion emails each day in 2021. I’d love to know the breakdown of these messages. How many chains of rambling updates between old friends? How many are notes to confirm a long-awaited trip to visit family? My bet is these are in the minority, dwarfed by the vast number of promotions and automations. And I’m basing this on my own inbox.
That’s one of the reasons why I love subscribing to newsletters. It isn’t the same as a note from a friend, but it also doesn’t require more time than reading—no input, no decisions, and no feeling guilty for inevitably getting behind on responding. Just a prompt to take a few minutes and read about whatever the topic.
Here are 14 of my favorite literary newsletters, the ones that I love seeing in my inbox as an excuse to sit for a minute and think about books, writing, and reading.
I first found Sara Hildreth’s Fiction Matters newsletter through the former English teacher’s Instagram account, which has a similar literary focus, and it’s become one of my favorites. Each Sunday, Hildreth shares smart, quick reviews of books she’s read, comments on literary news, as well as a round-up of what she’s loving, making, listening, or watching. The content is great, but the tone is wonderful—kind, warm, and relaxed, the perfect way to jump back into your inbox at the end of the weekend.
Also, the title here isn’t misleading. The newsletter features mostly fiction, with occasional nonfiction reads and recommendations. Most titles are literary fiction, but Hildreth does read across genres, as well.
Cost: The Fiction Matters newsletter is free, but there is a Fiction Matters patreon community if you’re looking for more.
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Electric Lit’s editor-at-large Brandon Taylor’s newsletter contains literary criticism that feels like a thought process, like his explaining an idea or unpacking a reaction and teasing it out to see how it works.
Besides being a pleasure to sit with, these newsletters motivate me to read more carefully, to consider the media I consume in conversation, to stop breaking my brain scrolling—though if you, like me, aren’t always successful at this, Taylor is an amazing Twitter follow.
In short: Must subscribe.
Electric Literature has three weekly newsletters, each arriving on a different day of the week. The Commuter, which goes out on Monday mornings, is a literary magazine with poetry, flash fiction, and graphic narratives. Each email includes one piece, as well as links to essays related to the broader topic, whether that’s aquatic drama or artistic influence. (Also, I can confirm, this email is a perfectly timed transition into the workweek even when you’re not commuting.)
Recommended Reading, which arrives on Wednesdays, features short fiction recommended by another author. It’s simple, but the personalized introduction to a story—explaining why it resonates, why the writer admires it—is lovely. I don’t know about you, but I tend to pay more attention, to engage more when someone recommends a piece to me.
Finally, the Friday round-up hits inboxes at the end of each workweek. This newsletter contains the best of Electric Literature’s essays, reading lists, and interviews, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything.
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The Buzzfeed Booksnewsletter sends out two emails each week. The Tuesday emails round up the best new books out each week. The list is usually broken up by genre—including nonfiction, romance, sci-fi, and more—with descriptions from members of the Buzzfeed team or Buzzfeed Books contributors.
On Sundays, the Buzzfeed Books newsletter highlights reading lists from the week, like must-reads by AAPI author and audio fiction podcasts for every kind of reader.
Link to the rest at Electric Lit