Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “McSweeney's #39” as Want to Read:
McSweeney's #39
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

McSweeney's #39 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #39)

by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  117 ratings  ·  21 reviews

Each issue of the quarterly is completely redesigned. There have been hardcovers and paperbacks, an issue with two spines, an issue with a magnetic binding, an issue that looked like a bundle of junk mail, and an issue that looked like a sweaty human head. McSweeney’s has won multiple literary awards, including two National Magazine Awards for fiction, and has had numerous

...more
Hardcover, 300 pages
Published December 27th 2011 by McSweeney's
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about McSweeney's #39, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about McSweeney's #39

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 234)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Patrick McCoy
McSweeney's 39 is handsome hard bound volume with some great inserts of photos of people running in various settings by former MTV VJay Tabitha Soren (and current wife of Michael Lewis). However, the real attraction of this volume is that it contained stories by some of my favorite contemporary writers and more than a few surprises. I sold on the promise of a new Karen Sisco (from Out of Sight) story, "Chick Killer," from Elmore Leonard, fiction from Spokane native Jess Walter, "Anything Helps," ...more
Kerry
Every year, I attend the Selected Shorts story readings at the Getty. At the end of the program, the audience is asked to fill out comment cards and suggest stories for future readings. This year, I'll be ready with my recommendations from McSweeney's 39.

This is a really good, strong collection. Just about everything was good, but here are my particular favorites:

--Carlos the Impossible, by J.T.K. Belle (made me a little misty-eyed at the end)
--Fifty Ways to Eat Your Lover, by Amelia Gray
--They
...more
Jamie
What is indispensable here: Václav Havel’s essay, “Politics and Conscience.” What is good: Jess Walter’s “Anything Helps.” And what is great fun: Elmore Leonard’s “Chick Killer,” his return of Karen Sisco.

(Karen Sisco!)

But yes, Elmore and Havel, and even Walter, I presume, are to be had in better ways elsewhere. The rest didn’t quite live up to the fun or indispensable. Certainly nothing as indispensable as this, more relevant today than in 1984, Havel echoing Wendell Berry (et. al.) from half a
...more
Brian
There is a lot to like in this issue as both the nonfiction and fiction entries are great. From a non-fiction perspective, Jennie Erin Smith's "Benjamin Bucks," is a fascinating read into the life of an expat con-man in Africa. From a fiction perspective I really enjoyed Elmore Leonard's "Chick Killer," it was worth the price of admission on it's own. Add Carlos the Impossible, a story by J. T. K. Belle which made me laugh out loud, and you have some great writing.
Joe
There are some quality pieces in this issue of McSweeney's Quarterly. Tom Barbash on the Shah. Roberto Bolaño poem, "The Neochileans." Yannick Murphy - Secret Language. Amelia Gray's "Fifty Ways to Eat Your Lover" is absolutely magnificent. Elmore Leonard - Chick Killer is also good. And, finally, J.T.K. Belle's fantastic bull-fighting story, "Carlos the Impossible."

This issue is worth your time and money.
Cacomixl
A solid literary issue with some excellent nonfiction, "The Right-hand Man to the Shah of Iran", "Benjamin Bucks" on Ugandan con men, and Vaclav Havel's "Politics and Conscience" in particular. "Bumsters", "They All Stand Up and Sing", "Secret Language", "Giant of the Sea", and "Carlos the Impossible" were standout fiction pieces.
Erik
Some strong stuff toward the end, especially "Carlos the Impossible" by J.T.K. Belles. Superb writing.
Johnpatrick
I've been reading the flagship quarterly from McSweeney's religiously for nine years. Given everything I have missed, it's amazing to me that I haven't missed a single issue in nearly a decade, that I continue to pack and unpack them for the purpose of accompanying me in a string of apartments. Issue 39 is a reminder of why I attach such fetishistic value to these books.

This issue is divided fairly evenly between fiction and non-fiction, the non-fiction representing a smattering of speeches, ess
...more
Elijah Kinch Spector
This was the first McSweeney's I've read, and while the nonfiction was uniformly great, the fiction was, well, up and down. The Elmore Leonard story was, of course, awesome, and "Anything Helps" and the last two stories were also great. From there things went a little downhill to some stuff that I liked while I was reading it but had issues with as soon as I'd start to think about it, and one piece that I absolutely hated. (I may decide to write about that last one mentioned at lenght someday.)

E
...more
Mark
this issue of mcsweeneys is more notable for its non-fiction than fiction, in particular for the timely inclusion of a long essay from vaclav havel so close to the great man's passing. that and the piece about reptile smugglers and con men in uganda were the most compelling. among the fiction, 'louella tarantula' (about a son losing his mother to cancer, though also about a spider) had personal resonance but probably 'secret language' and 'giant of the sea' were probably favorites.
Michael
I enjoyed the Havel essay and the nonfiction work by Tom Babash, but the real gems for me were the short stories at the end of the book. I sobbed a bit during "Anything Helps" by Jess Walter, smiled a whole lot through "Louella Tarantula" by Benjamin Weissman, and rooted for the bull (and was ultimately satisfied) in J. T. K. Belle's "Carlos The Impossible." Another great issue, McSweeny's...I'll be renewing my subscription!
Arjen
Benjamin Bucks by Jennie Erin Smith, The Shah's Man (Tom Barbash, non-fiction about the last Shah's page) and Vaclac Havel's address stood out for me.

This time there are two mini foto album inserts with nice images to spice things up.
Grant
Another solid issue of McSweeney's. I really enjoyed "Benjamin Bucks", "Bumsters", "Secret Language", and "Louella Tarantula". Really the only two I didn't really care for were "The Neochileans" and "Politics and Conscience".
Jacob
Nice solid issue of McSweeney's, I liked the transition for nonfiction/reportage to fiction as the issue progressed. And, even better, this is the second straight issue of the quarterly without problems with the binding.
Julia
It's always great to read a Havel piece. I also loved Benjamin Weissman’s Louella Tarantula so much. It's the type of language that sounds best read aloud.
Rand Renfrow
McSweeney's never ceases to amaze me, they never make a mistake, every collection is fantastic. Even still, this one is one of the better ones.
Lauren
i don't know why, but it wasn't my favorite issues...some issues just grab me and i pore over them while some feel like more of a struggle.
Fritz
This is great. MSweeney's compiles the greatest short stories AND thoughtprovoking essays. Must read for any literary enthusiasts.
Tamara
these books are always a good read...thanks Luke.
Tomas
Forgot everything except Bolano and Abi Maxwell.
Heather
Anything Helps
Secret Language
Nikol
Mar 24, 2013 Nikol added it
gave up
Blake Sproule
Blake Sproule marked it as to-read
Dec 26, 2014
Jeff
Jeff marked it as to-read
Nov 30, 2014
Adele
Adele added it
Nov 30, 2014
Mark Grossman
Mark Grossman marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2014
Scot
Scot marked it as to-read
Nov 03, 2014
Lee
Lee marked it as to-read
Oct 28, 2014
Casandra
Casandra is currently reading it
Sep 24, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • I.
  • Read Hard: Five Years of Great Writing from the Believer
  • McSweeney's #13
  • Grantland Quarterly: Vol 1
  • The McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets
  • Noisy outlaws, unfriendly blobs, and some other things that aren't as scary, maybe, depending on how you feel about lost lands, stray cellphones, creatures from the sky, parents who disappear in Peru, a man named Lars Farf, and one other story [...]
  • Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons
  • Hot Pink
  • Misadventure
  • Shiny Adidas Tracksuits and the Death of Camp and Other Essays from Might Magazine
  • Fever Chart
  • McSweeney's #10
  • Granta 121
  • Thanks and Have Fun Running the Country: Kids' Letters to President Obama
  • Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated
  • The Psychic Soviet  and Other Works
  • Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives (Voice of Witness)
  • More Curious
3371
Dave Eggers is the author of seven previous books, including his most recent, The Circle, a captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism that soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco th
...more
More about Dave Eggers...
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius What is the What Zeitoun The Circle You Shall Know Our Velocity!

Share This Book