"With all the time and energy you've squandered on that blog, you could have written a book. So goes the self-reproach "
Many of us have heard that particular nagging voice. But unlike most of us, Caleb Crain -- writer of fiction, contributor of nonfiction to the New Yorker and elsewhere, author of the cultural-literary blog Steamboats are Ruining Everything -- has responded to it decisively. The result is "The Wreck of the Henry Clay: Posts and Essays, 2003-2009," a best-of-Steamboats compendium. It's available via Lulu Marketplace as either a book or a pdf download. Why is he doing this, you may wonder?
I saw not long ago that someone had published a book of his Twitters, and I felt I was in danger of being behindhand. I am hereby restored to the bleeding edge. Also, now, when the electromagnetic-pulse device is detonated, I will be the only blogger in America with backup. And of course I'm looking forward to kicking back while the cold, hard internet cash at last streams in.
Please don't call it "self-published," Crain requests, a term that has a rather downmarket ring to it. "It's a chapbook, all right?"
And talk about Web 2.0. Crain has even fashioned an animated advertisement for the book, with the help of xtranormal.com.
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Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.
Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.
Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.
Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."
Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.
Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.