About Me

“Athitakis keeps the rest of the literary blogscape informed and honest.” —D.G. Myers

I’m Mark Athitakis (“ath-ih-TACK-iss”), a writer, editor, critic, and blogger who’s spent more than a dozen years in journalism. My work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Washington City Paper and many more publications.

This blog launched in January 2008, and since then has been honored as a “Top Ten Book Blog” by Readerville’s Karen Templer and one of “10 Really, Really Smart Literary Blogs” by the Elegant Variation’s Mark Sarvas. Plus, thanks to curious vicissitudes of Google’s search algorithm, this site is also a leading resource for those looking for the origin of the phrase, “paddle faster, I hear banjo music.” Howdy, y’all.

I’m the author of one book, Lyons, a photo history of the Chicago suburb that’s my hometown; I was the lead author of the book Business 2.0’s Dumbest Moments in Business History; and I contributed three essays to The Salon.com Guide to Contemporary Authors (on Nick Hornby, Tom Clancy, and Will Self, for those keeping score).

I also manage a guide to upcoming readings in the Washington, D.C. area; if you’re a writer or literary publicist and you’d like me to take a look at your book, please take a look at my guidelines.

I am a member of the National Book Critics Circle. In 2010 I was elected to a three-year term on its board of directors.

Your thoughts about this site are very welcome. Please e-mail me at mathitak@gmail.com or keep tabs on me on Twitter (@mathitak).

Recent Posts

Ten 2012 Books I Wish Received More Attention in 2012

I hesitate to say something simpler, like “Ten Overlooked 2012 Books”—these days even the books that dominate chatter about literary fiction generate such little attention in the wider world that even the award winners qualify as overlooked. Why the books books were less noticed or lauded escapes me—roughly a decade of steady book reviewing hasn’t … Continue reading Ten 2012 Books I Wish Received More Attention in 2012

New Yorker Magazine; Fiction; Keywording

You’re reading a novel. “What’s it about?” somebody asks. What do you say? The question grates; there’s no good answer for it, no easy way to address it. Book reviewers who are trained to avoid all but the briefest sketch of plot summary know that talking about the storyline is a poor way to register … Continue reading New Yorker Magazine; Fiction; Keywording

Seven Things I Think I Think About Book Reviews

Last Sunday I took part in a panel at the Writer’s Center titled “The Future of the Book Review,” joined by the Washington Post‘s Dennis Drabelle and the Washington Independent Review of Books‘ David O. Stewart. In advance of the panel, moderator Mia Cortez sent along some questions for discussion. With Cortez’ permission, I’m sharing … Continue reading Seven Things I Think I Think About Book Reviews

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