Editor: Dave Eggers
After years of internally debating the idea (I’d hate it, they are too clever by half and it’s annoying vs it really does seem like my kind of thing — maybe too much my kind of thing?) I subscribed to McSweeney’s. This is my first issue. I was very happy when it arrived in the mail.
It’s from Iceland. (Not directly, it was printed there.) There was only one author whose name I recognized in this one: Etgar Keret, and I really like him. So here I am, with my shiny new printed in Iceland book that arrived in the mail (it is always a wonder to get things that aren’t junk in the mail) with the one author I recognize and the ten I don’t and I think, I hope the subscription was the right thing to do.
I read every word, even the tiny print stuff on the front and back pages, even the contributors notes. I enjoyed Etgar Keret’s story (“Bad Karma”) though it turned out not to be my favorite. That might be Shelly Oria’s “The Beginning of a Plan” but “Further Interpretations of Real-Life Events” by Kevin Moffet was also very good, even though it is a story that talks about writing stories and could easily have wallowed in its own meta-ness in an unpleasant way, it didn’t. Really, I liked them all. The bitterness, the desperation, the complete misundertanding of one’s parents, the quirky little illustrations… I sort of can’t believe it has taken me until issue #30 to fully embrace McSweeney’s.
My advice is this: if you aren’t reading McSweeney’s because maybe you suspect that Dave Eggers and crew is just too obsessed with their own cleverness, or you think they are smug and maybe you want to wipe that look off their faces, or maybe you think it can’t be that good because it’s all hype, or how can they possibly run a super hero gear store and publish a decent quarterly, well… get over it, get over yourself, you’re probably going to love it. I did.
Besides, if you are a book person, wouldn’t it be great to get a magical semi-mysterious book in the mail four times a year? Of course it would.