Making A List

Making A List: Five Dubai Stranger-Than-Fictions

Before the economic crisis of 2008, Dubai purred gold. For his fantastically anchored story “Hagar’s Sons,” Astoria to Zion contributor Steve Almond draws upon the intersection of an unbridled moment and a richly interesting place. Take a look at these facts about pre-crisis Dubai, paired with excerpts from Almond’s “Hagar’s Sons.”


A pair of young women served him shirred eggs and dispatched him to a couchette, where he fell into a profound sleep.


For $19,130 a ticket, Emirates Airlines cradled passengers from New York City to Dubai in a private suite with a sliding door and a seat that reclined to form a bed. The thirteen-hour and twenty-five-minute flight was punctuated with seven-course meals served on Royal Doulton china.

[source: New York Times, photo:]

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Making a List: Top Five Most Crush-Worthy Women of Literary Fiction

Time for the ladies of literature! Tell us who your literary valentine is this year?

5. Caris from World Without End


Caris Wooler is a feisty merchant’s daughter. Beautiful, deeply intelligent, and courageous, she’s one of the few characters in the novel unafraid to stand up to the bullying and corrupt church. She’s also an accomplished nurse. This is an adventuresome woman, not the sort to sit around on the couch, content to watch TV and eat bonbons.

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Making A List: Top Five Most Crush-Worthy Men of Literary Fiction

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a list of our literary crushes? We’re rolling out the gents today, but stay tuned tomorrow for a list of leading ladies. 

5. Robinson Crusoe


Independent, practical, and versatile, Mr. Crusoe appeals to those who appreciate an element of the handyman, and it doesn’t hurt that he spent much of his life alone, diminishing the chances of him carrying unnecessary baggage into the relationship. Also, we hear that he’s quite wealthy. You may have to convert to Christianity, but if you’re willing, this may be the match for you.

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Making a List: How to Throw a Literary Halloween Party

1. Buy all the bow ties and black-rimmed eyeglasses in your city to ensure you’re the only person at your party wearing this season’s hottest literary Halloween costume: Lookout author Ben Miller.


2. Prepare condescending remarks to sling at guests who come dressed as monsters, aliens, cowboys, etc. This is a literary party, not a genre party, thank you very much.

3. Gather up every book by Poe, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, etc. that you have in your home. In the largest, most open area of the house—probably the space where the dance floor would be if this were a less awesome party—arrange the books into a pentangle and place a single red candle at each of its points. What happens from there is up to you. Use your imagination!

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Making a List: Oddly Specific Literary Anthologies

Lately, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about anthologies. We at Lookout have been working hard for the past several months on upcoming Ecotone anthology, Astoria to Zion: Twenty-Six Stories of Risk and Abandon from Ecotone’s First Decade. Then, just last week, my undergraduate publishing section read two examples of successful book proposals, both of which happened to be for anthologies of essays. What I find most fascinating is the oddly specific subject matter some editors undertake when compiling an anthology. Who knew there were enough stories, essays, and poems out there in the world about these subjects? Who knew there was a demand?

1.Baseball: A Literary Anthology, ed. Nicholas Dawidoff


Published in 2002 by Library of America, this is the anthology springs to my mind when I think of oddly specific subjects; in college, my boss was looking to make an anthology of baseball poems, and I remember being surprised to hear there were enough poems about baseball to anthologize—although some would undoubtedly say it is the Most American of Sports! and thus a prime subject for poesy. Robert Frost, Yusef Komunyakaa, Philip Roth, and John Updike, among others, are anthologized here.

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Making A List: Three Great Memoirs About Place

Three Great Memoirs about Place

With the March 12 release of Ben Miller’s River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll Amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa, the Lookout interns wanted to celebrate five strong memoirs about place.

Only three are listed here since River Bend Chronicle is a soon-to-be fourth. (Rounding out our list will be the forthcoming joint effort by Lookout Interns and PubLab TAs that will focus on lives subject to the cruel whim of the Adobe Creative Suite and there’s always a disturbing amount of doughnuts.)

But for now, books that have been released:


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Making A List: The Five Best H.P. Lovecraft Book Covers

5. The Doom that Came to Sarnath
This cover is great. It has a dark wizard casting some kind of spell on a cloudy day. In the front there are totems made from sticks, twine and human remains. The reader can see that some doom came but now they want to know things like: “How did the doom come?” and “What can I do to stop that doom from coming over here?”
4. The Haunter of the Dark
There is a lot to cover here. I think the best place to start is the two figures on the landscape. They think they know what’s going on but they don’t know jack. Just below their feet is some sort of disembodied head with tentacles living in a cave with a frogman.
3. The Horror in Museum
This chick went to the museum. She probably wanted to learn something or better herself in some way. But the only lesson she got was the final lesson from a three eyed crab man in a cape (who may be a king or something due to his throne).
2. At The Mountains of Madness
This cover features what madness would look like if it took physical shape.
1. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
This is pretty much all you need: A twisted spire of pained human faces all screaming in unison. The perfect cover.

 – Joe Worthen, Lookout Intern

Making A List: Four Literary Families Do Thanksgiving

1. The Millers, of River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa.

A family that once fashioned a Christmas tree out of twigs hacked hastily from a trellis vine has got to have some interesting tricks up their collective sleeve. (I include the Millers knowing full-well that I’m totally bias—one of a small group of lucky people who’ve been able to read the upcoming debut memoir about a family in upheaval while their city crumbles around them. Look for it March 12, 2013 from—you guessed it—Lookout Books!)

What we’d eat: TV mix from a Hefty bag.

Why we’d fight: Nathan ate my napkin holder.

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Making A List: Five of the Very Greatest Writers’ Moustaches

In honor of all of you out there growing that moustache for Movember, I’ve put together a little list of the greatest nosehairs that ever hit the literary scene. Got some other good ones I missed?

Mark Twain

No list of literary ‘staches would be complete without Mr. Clemens, so let’s get it out of the way up front. This moustache is robust and full-bodied, but you get the sense that it’s all business—it even looks like a frown. This moustache has no time for tomfoolery and japes, and one senses the shame it feels over its bearer’s propensity for humorous writing. Please, Mark, you can hear it urging, let’s have some dignity.

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Making A List: Four Typographic Websites That Will Make Your Design Brain Happy

One of the cool things about the MFA program here is the emphasis of what you’re putting on the page. Not like similes or metaphors and whatnot, but whether you’re using a slab serif as your body text (big mistake, that). As the semester winds down and as the Bookbuilding students here begin their final project (designing and creating a chapbook of their own work), I thought I’d share some of my favorite websites about typography and design.

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