Thoreau’s First New Yorker Cartoon

The wordless cartoons of Nurit Karlin. The sketched illustrations of R.O. Blechman. Turns out these staples from The New Yorker have an antecedent in Henry David Thoreau. Had The New Yorker been around, how might Thoreau have captioned this sketch from Journal XVII, kept February 1854 to September 1854? Certainly not as follows: At the steam-mill sand-bank was … Continue reading Thoreau’s First New Yorker Cartoon

Mail Call—Trump-Sized Satire

Oh happy day! New books arrived for review, including one unexpected. Thanks to a tip from writing coach, author, and blogger Marylee MacDonald and literary website Dactyl Review I find myself in possession of not one but TWO books courtesy of author U.R. Bowie. The first looks like a novel of the most ridiculous order for … Continue reading Mail Call—Trump-Sized Satire

Featured Blog—by Anonymous

The Skeptical Bureaucrat Bringing a new feature to Ben East Books by sharing a blog that caught my eye last week. The Skeptical Bureaucrat offers a number of excellent features, but none more excellent than it's anonymity. Yes, it's an established presence going back over a decade. Yes, it regularly runs the 'Most Head Shakingly … Continue reading Featured Blog—by Anonymous

When Writing Is Going Well…

To learn how today's funniest flash nonfiction writers answer a few simple questions, check the news feed over at Woodhall Press. Fiction or Nonfiction? Is it harder to write funny or sad? Long form or short form? Poetry or prose? Boxers or kickboxers? Piece that you read and said Wish I’d thought of that? Cloned … Continue reading When Writing Is Going Well…

Finite Jests

There’s nothing pithy in the title ‘Before We Break for Lunch, Let Me Repeat Everything Already Said at This Meeting At Least Twice.’ And that's exactly the point. By sticking its finger in the eye of brevity, this piece at the tail end of Flash Nonfiction Funny captures everything that’s beautiful and funny and sad … Continue reading Finite Jests

Debut Fiction Review–Love Is the Punch Line

Kathleen Jones' debut novel should be appearing tomorrow. It's a spinning yo-yo of ups and downs in hysterical pursuit of middle-aged romance. Advance review: Outside observers might wonder what middle-aged romantics Josh Steinberg and Holly Brannigan see in each other, beyond the mirror image of their mutual loneliness. In Kathleen Jones’s debut novel, Love Is … Continue reading Debut Fiction Review–Love Is the Punch Line

Introducing: Cowboy Herold

Sharing his thoughts on a fresh draft of my novel in progress, the contract illustrator proclaims: This whole thing is, like, so hilarious! Best of all, the 4th grader can barely utter consecutive syllables without breaking into fits of hysterics as he tries to describe the characters. His cheeks stretch too wide for speech at … Continue reading Introducing: Cowboy Herold

Comic Relief for Troubled Times

Taking aim at the institutions we once trusted to save us from ourselves. Out Today. AMERICA'S NEXT GUN MASSACRE IS INEVITABLE.  Unless one government intern can make a miracle of his odd DC jobs. Gabriel Dunne's internship has him tracking gun violence in America. But before he can start, boss Chloe tasks him with planning … Continue reading Comic Relief for Troubled Times

D. W. Hitman

Warning: the reading police, disguised as the media, have infiltrated the State Department. Based on a stroll through the Harry Truman building cafeteria, one journalist for The Atlantic pretends to understand our present condition: “As the staffer and I walked among the tables and chairs, people with badges chatted over coffee; one was reading his Kindle.” Forgive me for … Continue reading D. W. Hitman

Writing Prompts, Spellcheck, and Academic Advice

There are many, many reasons not to read Flash Fiction Funny while riding public transportation. The first and perhaps best reason is Taylor Mali’s The the Impotence of Proofreading, which will leave you bent over double and wheezing for breath, the workaday passengers all around contemplating the emergency brake at the back of the train. … Continue reading Writing Prompts, Spellcheck, and Academic Advice