Image by Kimberly Farmer

Sara Beth West


is a reader and a writer, offering book reviews and interviews with leading writers and thinkers.

On News and Letters and Newsletters

Everyone has a newsletter these days. I follow quite a few of them and enjoy them all. If I had a marketing team, they would likely be urging me to start a newsletter. I'm not yet sure that's a good idea, but there are times when the crowded thoughts start to triangulate and demand something that is not exactly review, not exactly commentary. As any seasoned cook knows, there are times when you take a little wisdom (aka garlic, onions, and butter is never a bad starting spot) and whatever ingredients you need to use, and the combination equals dinner. So, I'm not quite ready to call this a newsletter. Let's call it midweek dinner instead.

My first newsletter was either Kottke's Noticing (currently on hiatus) or Austin Kleon's weekly list. He led me to several others, though I can't remember if he's responsible for connecting me with Robin Sloan's letter (which ended in December but can still be found here for now), or if that came when I finally read Mr. Penumbra last year. Either way, it was those newsletters that compelled me to build this site, to create a space where I could create in space without the trappings of social media to entangle. Though traffic and followers do matter a bit (they help to secure interviews and give credence to requests made as a reviewer), posting to your own site allows you to do the work that matters to you without worrying about, well, everything else.

So, what's on the menu for this midweek dinner? Not sure yet, but here are the ingredients:

I'll post it here on Wednesdays. You can sign up (here) to receive it as an email if you'd prefer.

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