Kings Under the LJS Microscope

wheeler ljsThe Lincoln Journal-Star has quite a lot of coverage on my new novel Kings of Broken Things on the front of its (402) lifestyle section this Sunday, with a book review and an interview. Be sure to pick up a copy of the paper if you’re in the Lincoln area and check out for yourself the two photos of my giant head. (May not be to scale.)

Thanks so much to features editor Jeff Korbelik for interviewing me, and Andrew Willis for his well-considered review. I especially like how the review mentions that Kings of Broken Things briefly features a Nebraska-Notre Dame football game from 1918, when Knute Rockne brought his Irishmen to Lincoln for a Thanksgiving Day game and my character Jake Strauss was in the crowd.

Be sure to check out the interview and I’ll post a link to the review if it goes online. In the meantime, here’s a little taste:

Theodore Wheeler’s nearly 10-year journey ends Tuesday when publisher Little A releases the Omaha author’s first novel, “Kings of Broken Things.” Wheeler, 35, admitted he’s anxious, having spent seven to eight years writing the book and another year and half to two years working through the publishing process. “I have a 9-year-old daughter, so when I started working on it she was still a baby and now she’s going to fourth grade,” Wheeler said in a phone interview to discuss the novel’s release. “It kind of puts it in a little more perspective.”

Review News

Some news to share regarding criticism. My review of Justin Taylor’s Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever will be appearing on The Millions early next month! It was just accepted this week.

And my review of Lydia Peelle’s Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing is slated to appear in the Summer 2010 issue of Prairie Schooner. This had been previously accepted, but I learned that it’s scheduled for publication today.

It’s been surprisingly fun to work on literary criticism again after grad school–albeit in a way that isn’t so strictly scholarly. It’s a bit nerve-wracking to critique a young writer’s work in public way also, but I’m not too afraid of doing so, it turns out. When I started thinking about reviewing books, I promised myself that I’d only review books that I really liked. For one, I wouldn’t have to trash another writer. Second, it seemed boring to put that much effort into something that I couldn’t connect with. And finally, it didn’t make sense to help promote work that I didn’t care for when that effort could be applied to promoting work I actually want others to read. Seems like sound logic to me.

My First Published Review

Prairie Schooner has accepted my review of Lydia Peelle’s new collection of short fiction, Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing, for publication in an upcoming issue!

This is my first book review. It was an awkward process on some levels, even though I’ve produced plenty of critical essays, conference papers, and book reports on the way to an MA. Coming up with analysis wasn’t really difficult–or more difficult than it was before–but assuming that withdrawn, critical mantle was challenging. Apparently I’d forgotten what it meant to write like an academic. It was kind of fun, actually, once I got back in the swing of it. And it’s refreshing to know that blogging hasn’t ruined my aptitude for formal composition after all.