• How the Water Feels to the Fishes • Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape • Minor Robberies These three hardcover books are snugly enclosed together in an illustrated (by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson) slipcase and bring you together the 145 short (generally very short) stories of the overarching title; from the fine folks at McSweeney's.
I'm sure that we were not alone in thinking that the last few issues of McSweeney's had not been living up to the high design and content standards that they had set for themselves over the years. We were beginning to wonder if, perhaps, the enterprise had run out of gas, and that Eggers & Co. had set their priorities elsewhere. And while the latter may very well have been the case, we are happy to announce that, with, at least, it's thirty-third issue, all those concerned have put McSweeney's back front and center. This is a knock-your-socks-off issue that asks – and boldly answers – the question, "What's so good about a newspaper, anyway?" McSweeney's 33 is, more or less, a what-if? fantasy of what the San Francisco Sunday paper could be like in an alternative universe where profit-driven capitalism did not govern all enterprise-related decisions. Originally published and distributed in San Franciso on December 9, 2009, it is now available to the rest of us. More or less patterned after the Sunday New York Times (only bigger – a whoppin' 15" x 22"!), this hefty newspaper edition of McSweeney's is filled with engaging, well written articles on all sorts of topics and at all lengths from (rough guess, here) 100 to 10,000 words. The graphics department has taken full advantage of the oversize "canvas" offered by these large broadsheets, and the printing and paper are excellent for full visual impact. There is a 96-page book review insert printed on extra high quality paper stock that is not only filled with reviews but also: interviews with the likes of Junot Diaz, Miranda July and James Franco; new, original short works of fiction by George Saunders, Deb Olin Unferth, Roddy Doyle and others; a gigantic feature on the work of J.G. Ballard by Geoff Nicholson; pages of letters; and more! There is an oversize 112-page magazine insert that is printed on an even higher grade of paper stock that is overflowing with in-depth essays on all and sundry as well as columns by Michael Chabon, Chip Kidd and others. And, of course, we have saved the best for last: there is an honest-to-God, good-old-fashioned, 16-page, full color comics section, filled with all new work by Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Alison Bechdel, Adrian Tomine, and plenty more. And, as if this weren't already enough, there's a bonus Acme Novelty Library, Rocket Sam cut-out by Chris Ware to while away a lazy Sunday afternoon. Don't miss this vibrant, full-blooded testimonial to the power and glory of newspapers.