This Thing Looks Like This; Or, Maintain mental purchase but…

Posted by Lizzie on 06/12/10

I’m opening up Old Hag again.

This will be followed by — at some point in the not-too-distant future, and a not-too-jarring redesign — a what-proves-to-be-intemperate-despite-my-best-efforts disquisition on why, but I’m just going to start my reposting by pointing you to the lovely OFP (Official Favorite Person) offerings of Maud Newton on the new Lorin-Stein-edited Paris Review‘s blog, The Paris Review Daily.

They asked Maud to record a week in a reader’s life, a task for which she seems admirably up (though as her mother I do want to point out Maud is a very accomplished writer, speaker, lawyer, critic, author and elsewise as well as a “reader”, etc., etc.).

10:00 A.M. Strong homemade coffee and chocolate-covered almonds for breakfast. My sister’s at work already, but her partner has read and enjoyed Memento Mori, so we talk about that.

10:45 A.M. Check e-mail. Continue ongoing exchange with my friend Laura Miller about iPad applications that may be useful for readers and the impossibility of finding those hypothetical applications amid the clutter of the online store. We both use RSS readers, Instapaper, Kindle, iBooks, Epicurious, Netflix, Twitter apps…. There are supposedly thousands of options now, but as she says, “to look at that #$&! app store, you’d think it was more like 500.”

and my favorite, which may or may not be funnier if you have seen the gesticulations in question:

7:30 P.M. Sláinte on the Bowery with Alex and Lindsay. We start drinking before the greasy snacks I’ve ordered arrive, and soon I am drunk, although I’ve only had two glasses of wine. Already my upper lip is going numb and I’m intermittently shrieking in the Floridian-Texan-Southern accent I semi-jokingly slide into with friends on these occasions. We’re gossiping about people we mutually loathe, so all is well, but I am already aware of the need to modulate my voice and try to keep the gesticulations to a minimum.

Okay. Fuck, I got started. I am going to disquisish, mildly.


Filed under: blog in the day | Comments (28)

Sticky: Are you looking for more info on “Shelf Discovery”?

Posted by Lizzie on 08/01/09


Head to my blog at I do post a lot here too, but a) sometimes I forget, because I am old and b) I am currently working on a big essay about the beautiful abandoned lots of Jersey City for THIS blog, which will be wondrous but is probably not what you are presently seeking.

Filed under: General | Comments (2)

I still like to spell it 5%#!$

Posted by Lizzie on 07/29/09

Come see my friends Michael Taeckens and Maud Newton for the launch of: Housing Works: Events: Love is a Four-Letter Word. (Info if you click; 7 at Housing Works.)

Filed under: General | Comments (2)

BookTour reminder!

Posted by Lizzie on 07/28/09

I’m at the Tribeca B&N tonight — would be great to see you:

Tuesday, July 28
7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble Tribeca
97 Warren St., NY, NY 10007

via More info and map here.

Filed under: General | Comments (1)

Not least because we both love the word “delightful”

Posted by Lizzie on 07/25/09

I had so much fun doing this podcast with former YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) president, the completely delightful Michael Cart, that I barely let him get a word in edgewise. Things we discussed (as broken down by producer Linda Braun):

  • Shelf Discovery
  • The range of human experience covered in teen novels.
  • How teens read and what they get out of reading realistic fiction.
  • Books including Secret Lives by Bertha Amos, Jacob Have I LovedPhyllis Reynold Naylor’s Alice series, and The Dreadful Future of Blossom Culp.
  • Reasons why novels for girls and women do not receive the respect they deserve.
  • Skurnick’s career & the readership of her Jezebel columns.
  • The future of print reviewing and the changing world of reading in electronic and print formats.
  • Filed under: General | Comments (0)

    Press clippings

    Posted by Lizzie on

    Two things:

    • Listen to me on BOB EDWARDS. I say period 600 times.
    • Listen to me on TALK OF THE NATION. I do NOT talk about siblings locked in an attic who sleep together. (Oh, whoops — yes I do.)

    In further upcoming podcasts, I discuss Neanderthal rape. No, no — YES I DO. Incoming.

    Filed under: General | Comments (4)

    Something I’ve been meaning to tell you

    Posted by Lizzie on 07/23/09

    A) I’m going to be on TALK OF THE NATION TOMORROW (thursday) for like NINETEEN HOURS with MEG CABOT talking teen! Please listen.

    2.) I was on THE BOB EDWARDS show today and we had a delicious time talking about rereads and teens and The Monkey Wrench Gang et al.

    3) Reader’s Digest ran a lovely, strangely prose-poem-y rendering of my intro to Shelf Discovery.

    ii) I’m not really supposed to link to nice reviews all over as such, but Teenreads really wrote THE LOVELIEST thing on Amazon and I want to link just to thank them.

    2.2) Double X ran an excerpt with my piece on Daughters of Eve, with a headline that will seal the deal in my grand campaign to steer away from blind dates.

    7) Michael Orthofer wrote a very respectful and thoughtful review with a strangely melancholy interlude on how much I had neglected the male perspective in the book. Men! I did not neglect the male perspective. I just wasn’t thinking of you at all. So, so different.

    Filed under: General | Comments (0)

    Shelf Discovery gets Sirius!

    Posted by Lizzie on 07/22/09

    I was on The Bob Edwards Show this morning discussing Shelf Discovery, and I would like to state for the record that I do know boys read, I just still don’t care that they do.

    Filed under: General | Comments (3)

    And a little reprint led them…

    Posted by Lizzie on 07/20/09

    My book is being published



    Please commence acting excited on my behalf, if you have two seconds. For event info, FRIEND ME on Facebook or visit my book’s website. I promise, I will put some stuff up there.

    Filed under: General | Comments (7)

    Steve Jobs, take a bow

    Posted by Lizzie on 07/15/09

    My designer got tired of me making fun of either a) iTunes, b) radio 2.0 or (most likely) c) boys and their obsession with DIRECTIONS and kindly directs me:

    BTW, you can get iTunes links by right clicking on them and selecting “Copy iTunes Store URL”

    One link to me and Scott Westerfeld on Rachel Maddow’s radio show with Ana Marie Cox. I lose; men, Internet, directions win. Enjoy!

    Filed under: events | Comments (1)

    All you need to know at present, I think

    Posted by Lizzie on 07/13/09

    (This post is almost a complete reprint of what I just sent to my mailing list. What am I, made of time? If you are on my mailing list, I apologize. If you are not on my mailing list, perhaps you would like to be on it! Receiving everything twice is the new black.)

    A very quick note to say….SHELF DISCOVERY will be alive and kicking in bookstores and other places of commerce on July 21, 2009! BUY IT! Tell your FRIENDS about it! Read it, if you must!

    A few items of information:

    1. In the next few weeks the book will be featured on many outlets and inlets, including DoubleX, Newsday, Talk of the Nation, Bitch magazine, and Bob Edwards. I will tell you way too much about it! Sorry in advance!

    2. I am launching in a few days, which will have a neato COVER GALLERY as well as a blog and many other ways to follow any goddamn thing I am doing. But: re: cover gallery. Do you have a cover YOU ADORE? Send it to this email or lizzie YES, AT lizzieskurnick INTERESTINGLY, DOT com and I’ll post it. And if you’d like to write anything about what it, as they say, means to you, I will happily post that on the site there too.

    3. Two bloggers, A Chair, Fireplace & Tea Cozy, and Chris & Qualler, wrote very nice appreciations of the book. Go to their blogs, where they also have many other wonderful things.

    4. I am 2.0! Goddamnit! Less so than I could be because I refuse to get an iPhone and I also have no internet right now. But if you are on these places, I would love to meet you:

    FACEBOOK (where a cover gallery resides and people have made FUN YA QUIZZES);

    GOODREADS, where I am about to write about the weirdest book by Elia Kazan EVER that it doesn’t even list;

    HARPERCOLLINS, which also has a cover gallery;

    TWITTER, where I always want to just write about what I am eating, though I understand that’s a tsk-tsk. Let me tell you: the $12 jar tuna at Citarella is worth it. It’s worth it! Judge me!


    You can also PRE-ORDER THE BOOK! I just got it in the mail the other day and it is very pretty.

    p.s. Rob Walker asked me to be part of the Significant Objects project, where writers contribute fictional essays about items we never actually owned that you, the reader, may then bid on on eBay. I do that about shoes I don’t buy in stores ALL THE TIME. Click to read my strangely moody piece!

    p.p.s. I was with Ana Marie Cox on the Rachel Maddow radio show which is available on iTunes. I know, I know, my head is spinning! The amazing Scott Westerfeld, with whom I had a lively fight about airplane manuals and men getting to take credit for EVERYTHING all the time, even reading manuals which is not, in my view, “reading”, posted, appropriately enough, directions to listen. I did not. I miss, my friends, the radio, which as I recall you just turned on. But here you go:

    a) Search the iTunes Store for “Maddow 960″.
    b) Click on the green Rachel Maddow icon.
    c) Select the 06/30/09 episode.
    d) Listen and be amazed (or at least amused).

    p.p.p.s. The latest Fine Lines is on A Taste of Blackberries. Click for Only the Goofs Die Young.

    More, more coherently, soon!



    Filed under: General | Comments (3)

    Virus update

    Posted by Lizzie on 06/24/09

    Thanks to Mihai, Old Hag should now be entirely virus- and malware-free. (This is not a DARE, robots.) Let me know if you ever need a good coder — or two wonderful designers, for that matter. And I’m glad to have it confirmed I would never name a directory /za.

    Filed under: General | Comments (0)

    Buck Up: Life Lessons From Young Heroines

    Posted by Lizzie on 06/10/09

    I’m on NPR! Click to listen to discourse on how the wee heroines of literature are far less whiny than we are. (Oooo, that rhymes.)

    Filed under: General | Comments (3)

    Nothing’s BEA in fifth grade

    Posted by Lizzie on 05/26/09

     If you missed it, I reviewed Barthe DeClements’ “Nothing’s Fair In Fifth Grade” for Jezebel last Friday.


    I will be signing galleys of Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading, at Book Expo America, which is to say, Free Books!!!!!! Info below:

    Time: Friday, May 29th, 11:00 am

    Place: Table 13, Author signing area

    More Pertinent Place: HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS/BEA 2009
    Jacob Javits Center, 655 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

    Filed under: events | Tags: | Comments (3)

    An extraordinarily long housecleaning post

    Posted by Lizzie on 05/19/09

    Hello all! I am currently in the process of creating yet another new site that will either give me some central place to post news for the book or (more likely) create yet another site to update. But until such time as all this is fed into some grand aggregator in the sky, some recent news/links for your amusement:

    areyoutheregoditsmedodai020I started up the Fine Lines column again two weeks with Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and discovered I was a terribly old lady who was probably only about one week away from needing a full set of fake teeth. Read the full column here.

    kinflicks051509I also started up the Shelf Pleasuring column again last week with one of my favorite books, Lisa Alther’s now mainly unsung Kinflicks, which I gifted in the days before Mustela sets and diaper caddies were all the rage. Read that full column here.

    At the LA Times Book Festival two weeks ago, I sat on a panel about reading with the marvelous Laura Miller, Jane Smiley, and Sara Nelson. Then C-Span put it on TV! I find this, inexplicably, hilarious.


    You can watch the entire panel here, or, if you like, I’ve assembled some handy clips. (You’ll have to allow popups for the player to work.)

    Wherein I discuss the infamous pancake slashing incident

    Wherein I recall how wondrous were the days when parents had no idea what you were doing

    Wherein I manage to move the conversation around to erections

    Wherein I clear up the misconception that the Little House books are heartwarming

    Shelf Discovery is on Facebook! (Though disturbingly NOT showing up on Amazon searches today. Oh, AMAZON…) You can make these dopey badges so people can friend you in one click. I made one:
    Shelf Discovery’s Profile
    Shelf Discovery's Facebook Profile
    Create Your Badge

    The book also has a mailing list you can sign up for to get news and updates. 

    I will also be doing a signing at BEA next Friday at 11:00 in “the signing area,” wherever that is, and sitting on some panel or other at Printer’s Row in Chicago. Then I will be doing like 68 other things. More info on that and other events as those dates approach. 

    You can also just buy the book. I am completely exhausted. I cannot wait, CANNOT WAIT, for this new goddamn site.

    Filed under: events, General | Tags: | Comments (2)

    I can’t WAIT for the legal scholarship!

    Posted by Lizzie on 05/13/09

    This is your 20-something contriubtion to feminist intellectual life? You make fun of our suits and frown lines?  

    The same woman at the Times who snagged me in the elevator that day had done the same thing on an earlier occasion, to ask about a semi-spurious trend story published in the paper that day. It described Yale students and recent graduates (I’m one) who were planning to “opt out” for a year or two or five when they spawned. She was aghast to hear that I didn’t have strong feelings either way, and warned me against dropping out of the workforce. God help my shallow self, as I stood there looking at her rumpled suit and dated hair and frown lines, I was overwhelmed with pity. Perhaps watching me breeze into the life she had so laboriously carved out for herself—or worse, stray from the hard line in a way that she and other feminists couldn’t allow themselves to—felt to her like a bitter betrayal.

    But it felt great to me.

    Filed under: General | Comments (5)

    I am wildly entertaining!

    Posted by Lizzie on 05/11/09

    AND spastic:

    Shelf Discovery: The Teen Classics We Never Stopped Reading Lizzie SkurnickAvon, $14.99 paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-175635-1

    Launched from her regular feature column “Fines Lines” for, this spastically composed, frequently hilarious omnibus of meditations on favorite YA novels dwells mostly among the old-school titles 

    from the late ’60s to the early ’80s much beloved by now grown-up ladies. This was the era, notes the bibliomaniacal Skurnick in her brief introduction, when books for young girls moved from being “wholesome and entertaining” (e.g., The Secret Garden and the Nancy Drew series) to dealing with real-life, painful issues affecting adolescence as depicted by Beverly Cleary, Lois Duncan, Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle and Norma Klein. Skurnick groups her eruptive essays around themes, for example, books that feature a particularly memorable, fun or challenging narrator (e.g., Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy); girls “on the verge,” such as Blume’s Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret or “danger girls” such as Duncan’s Daughters of Eve; novels that deal with dying protagonists and other tragedies like child abuse (Willo Davis Roberts’s Don’t Hurt Laurie!); and, unavoidably, heroines gifted with a paranormal penchant, among other categories. Skurnick is particularly effective at spotlighting an undervalued classic (e.g., Joan Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase)* and offers titles featuring troubled boys as well. Her suggestions will prove superhelpful (not to mention wildly entertaining) for educators, librarians and parents. (Aug.)

    Buy it here.

    * This was actually Laura Lippman’s essay, for which I am tremendously grateful!

    Filed under: General | Comments (4)

    Come, 2.0!

    Posted by Lizzie on 04/14/09

    (The lively Lambert Strether at Corrente Wire, my favorite political blog, shamed me by putting up this announcement when I’d forgotten to do it HERE. Sorry. My place, to paraphrase Margaret Schlegel, is with Facebook now. While I’ve got you, if you are so moved, watch an animation from a poem from “Check-In” at

    Filed under: events, General, poesie | Comments (0)


    Posted by Lizzie on 03/04/09

    Filed under: General | Comments (1)

    Check-In 2.0

    Posted by Lizzie on 02/20/09

    I am delighted to announce that, in the past 4 years, I managed to write 14 poems — ones that my press, Caketrain, has suffered to publish in an expanded edition of Check-In, my 2005 chapbook — now with an introduction by the miraculous and beautiful Maureen McClane!

    Bear with me while I post some relevant links below:

    You can read some poems from Check-In and purchase the book here.

    You can sign up to get updates on readings and whateverage on Check-In here.

    You can join the Check-In society on Facebook here

    You can read a review of Check-In from The Brooklyn Rail here.

    I was lucky enough to be picked to be part of a series produced by The Poetry Foundation and Poetry Everywhere, in association with docUWM at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in which students animate poems. Mine was animated by Neil Subel. I am going to work on my flat affect. You can watch it below (entire series here):


    I think that’s it. Did I mention the Facebook page?

    Filed under: General | Comments (2)

    Newer Posts - Older Posts