McSweeney's #18
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McSweeney's #18 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #18)

3.71 of 5 stars 3.71  ·  rating details  ·  354 ratings  ·  26 reviews
McSweeney's began in 1998 as a literary journal, edited by Dave Eggers, which published only works rejected from other magazines. But after the first issue, the journal began to publish pieces written with McSweeney's in mind. Soon after, McSweeney's attracted works from some of the finest writers in the country, including David Foster Wallace, Ann Cummins, Rick Moody, Hei...more
Hardcover, 200 pages
Published December 8th 2005 by McSweeney's (first published January 15th 2005)
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Jul 05, 2008 James rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves short stories.
Recommended to James by: Timothy
Shelves: reviewed
If you have, through some terrible oversight or tragic turn of events, never considered getting a subscription to McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, may I heartily suggest to you this very moment that it is more than a merely good idea, and that it is in fact (and not merely in verisimilitude) one of the best ideas you could ever have, -- even if you are suffering from yaws, which, rumor has it along the grapevine (as whispered in the avocado tree [as suggested amongst the flute-like staffs {staves?...more
Despite the fatiguing effect of the ever-present "we" and present tense used in most things McSweeney, I still enjoy reading the shorts. This collection, which came with the delightful Wolphin #1 (check out "The Delicious" PLEASE), is the usual assortment of eccentric and poetic prose with the occasional reference to NPR programming (it's an incestuous group, no?) in the mix.

Here's a quick rundown with my preferences:

"The Stepfather" by Chris Adrian
Sort of an adult Lemony Snicket story. Kept my...more
This was my first McSweeney's and I thought it was a great place to start. There were some wonderful standouts like Chris Adrian's "The Stepfather" (a smartly written satire of the Bush presidency), Adam Levin's "Hot Pink", Joe Meno's "People are becoming clouds" and Joyce Carol Oates's "Bad Habits". Edmund White's "My Hustlers" was a real low point as it confused descriptions of an alternative sexual lifestyle with interesting story and Alan Ackerman's "No Cry of Distress in Our Streets" was al...more
I enjoyed most of the stories, even if few of them really entranced me. I enjoyed Oates' story; but I love her. I think I'd like to read a Roddy Doyle book, after the taste we got in his short, New Boy. I also thought that Hot Pink by Adam Levin was really cool, a touch of Burgess in the colloquial prose. The final stand out to me was Yannick Murphy... I will be looking for her novels. I love that McSweeney's mails me stuff I may never have thought to read previous to their packages. :)
Apr 17, 2008 nicole rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
took me FOREVER to finish. i got stuck on adam levin's hot pink, which then wound up being my favorites. i stammered and stalled my way through the second half, eyeing my copy of the corrections (which i am holding on to for the next reading drought). i loved joe meno's story about the wife who turns into a cloud. it made me think of all the things i loved about the boy detctive fails, which i read exactly this time last year. if i didn't have so many other books on deck, i'd re-read it.
This is a great issue. I found three new authors I like plus the three or four stories I loved by authors I already knew.
I really enjoyed the first story in this collection. There were a couple others here and there I could get into. Some I found utterly pointless. What are ya gonna do? You can't please everyone. Nonetheless, I've never been able to get into Joyce Carol Oates' short stories before, and I actually liked her story in here, so maybe I'll try a novel and see what all the hype is about... Overall, it is an okay collection... maybe I'm just not into stories that go essentially nowhere.
Happiness Reminders by Rachel Himmelheber
The rest...not so much. These issues are kind of like pop-rocks - infectious, and they're exciting the first whirl-around, but inevitably get boring when the novelty is gone. At first, I really wanted a full subscription, but I think I might satiate myself by buying occasional issues that feature writers I already know I like.
This one has some good stories in it. I particularly remember one that I think was called "Hot Pink" or something like that. It was just about some guys walking around a city, it might have been Chicago. I remember someone carrying a bag of oranges. I obviously don't remember it "particularly" well, like I said. It was a good story, whatever it was called.
Although I enjoyed many of the stories in this issue, overall I did not find this crop as wonderful as other McSweeney's pieces I have read. I liked "The Stepfather" by Chris Adrien, "New Boy" by Roddy Doyle, "My Hustlers" by Edmund White, "Happiness Reminders" by Rachel Haley Himmelheber, and "People Are Becoming Clouds" by Joe Meno.
The usual mix of inventive and wearisome. Though it maybe devalued Egan's "The General" as a beautifully satirical story about the later career about a third world dictator, I dug Daniel Orozco's "Somoza's Dream." Joe Meno's "People Are Becoming Clouds" seems like it'll stick, too. Others, who knows?
Izetta Autumn
What a fantastic gathering of short stories - inventive, creative, and truly lovely writing. In a publishing world full of not so very good writing, and accented with less than innovative or interesting plots, McSweeney's Issue 18 highlights some fo the very best talent.
This one looks to have been on my shelf for close to five years. Really, McSweeney's used to be good. This one is terrible. They seem to select stories based on how pretentious, affected and fake the voices of the writers are. I couldn't even finish half of these.
Great collections of short stories...this is the mcsweeney's issue that grabbed me...two stories, people are becoming clouds and deb olin unferth...first one is tender with great imagery and deb olin unferth just makes you feel good about yourself and makes me laugh...
Every issue of McSweeney's takes me forever to get though - in a good way. This was not the best issue, I'm afraid. A handful of good stories, even more okay stories. Nothing really sucked per se, but nothing made me want to shout it from the highest hill.
Nate D
Some really excellent short fiction here, particularly Chris Adrian's "The Stepfather", "Hot Pink", "My Hustlers", and "Bad Habits". "The Railroad Nurse" tantalized with a nice twist and loss of context, but barely did anything with its excellent setup.
short stories for hipsters and poncey fans of "literature". Some great ones, some strange ones I didn't understand, and a couple of crap ones. Still worth reading (especially because McSweeney's were having a sale when I bought this for $2).
I like this issue a lot. It had some really good stuff and some really weird stuff. I think some of the weird stuff was written so the author could feel smarter than the reader. They failed, but it was still entertaining.
Definitely one of the better McSweeney's, there were no duds in this one. Usually there are one or two stories in these collections that I will read two pages of and then skip, but I really enjoyed everything in this one.
Jul 08, 2009 Traci added it
Purchased in my McSweeney's Having A Book Sale Extravaganza, which only served to remind me I have no time to read books. Hooray for short stories!
Hm, done reading this...I want to make note of the highlights but I don't have the book with me; to-do later.
Loved loved loved "People Are Becoming Clouds" and "Hot Pink." Can't reccomend them enough. The rest were alright.
Favs: The Stepfather/Chris Adrian, Hot Pink/Adam Levin, Bad Habits/Joyce Carol Oates, The Railway Nurse/Nelly Reifler
so far happiness reminders and my hustlers i liked the most... maybe bc both of them are about gay issues?
No surprise - stories run the gamut from strong to "wha-ha?".
Great Publisher!!

Must Read - 1
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Julian added it
Aug 17, 2014
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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
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