Dictionary Stories

Very short stories composed entirely of example sentences from the dictionary.

Dictionary Stories: Out now! Reviews, excerpts, and such.

At last! The book is out (in the US, at least) and a generous handful of folks have written about it, or shared some exclusive story excerpts and illustrations. 

Buzzfeed shared nine stories of young monarchs, restless ghosts, and careless assassins, while McSweeney's shared a particularly unhinged menu called Seasonal Craft Cocktails.

Ploughshares says, "Burrows challenges our ideas of the writing process and unpacks our understanding of what is literary," while KQED "swooned for most of the short passages, appreciating how Burrows' sense of collage often found depth in this specific length." Finally, Martin McLellan at the Seattle Review of Books wrote a review so packed with thoughtful and generous quotes that I can't pick one. 

SF/NY Events in April

San Francisco and New York! Come hear me and a host of wildly talented people at one of three events to celebrate the release of the book on 4/10: 

Dictionary Stories Release Party
Tuesday April 10th, 7:30–9pm
The Booksmith, 1644 Haight St, San Francisco

This night will be incredibly special, and it'll have almost nothing to do with me. Not only do we get to spend time in one of the best indie bookstores in the city, Robin Sloan (olive oil magnate and author of Sourdough and Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore) will be running the show, and I'll be accompanied for the reading by Minna Choi and the Magik*Magik Orchestra, which will be a literal dream.
→ Facebook event
→ Booksmith event page

MetroLex: Jez Burrows and Lynne Murphy
Friday April 13th, 4–6pm
Columbia University (Hamilton Hall, Room 703), New York

I'll be talking about the book at this gathering of lexicography-minded folks alongside author and linguist Lynne Murphy (who'll be talking about her new book The Prodigal Tongue). 
→ Eventbrite RSVP
→ Facebook event

Litquake's Comfort Lit Series: Dictionary Stories
Tuesday April 17th, 12–1pm
The Mechanic's Institute, 57 Post Street, San Francisco

A lunchtime conversation at San Francisco's wonderful Mechanic's Institute—I'll be talking to lexicographer and friend Jane Solomon.
→ Eventbrite RSVP
→ Facebook event
→ Litquake event page

Early Reviews: Kirkus/Booklist/Publisher's Weekly

With just over a month to go before the US release of Dictionary Stories, we have three monumentally flattering reviews already in our pocket, from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Publisher's weekly. 

Kirkus calls the book "a fabulist remix of the English language and a tribute to clever lexicographers everywhere," and that its stories are "wickedly short but exquisitely rendered."

Booklist says Dictionary Stories is "playful and rare," and "the opposite of the 'titanic tower of garbage' that Burrows confesses to worrying it might be."

Finally, a starred Publishers Weekly review says "What sounds like mere novelty turns out to be a revelation in Burrows’ hands," and calls the book "a joyful celebration of idiosyncrasy and invention." 

Introducing: Dictionary Stories

Introducing: Dictionary Stories

Say hello to Dictionary Stories: Short Stories and Other Findings, coming April 2018 from Harper Perennial and available to pre-order right this second

Dictionary Stories began back in 2015 as a quick idea for a zine, hastily stapled together on evenings and weekends. Shortly after it became a Tumblr, then a book proposal. Today it's a high resolution jpg of a cover, and on April 10th 2018, it'll be a physical book published by Harper Perennial. A collection of more than 150 stories composed entirely of example sentences from a dozen dictionaries, organized alphabetically by theme and illustrated throughout. 

There's much more to come. Read more about the book and pre-order it here, and sign up to the newsletter to keep abreast of updates on the road to April. 

A New Site! A New Look! A New Hope!

Dictionary Stories has had a makeover—new site, new logo. The first site, while perfectly adequate for a short while, looked and performed as if it were designed in the dark by an arthritic dog. It broke if you so much as looked at it the wrong way. It attracted birds and stray dogs and was possibly haunted. Goodbye, old site—nobody will mourn for you.  

Thanks to Cactuslab, the new Dictionary Stories is a powerful, gleaming machine. It looks tremendous on your personal desktop computer, on your mobile telephone, on your pocket calculator. It will never let you down. And that handsome new wordmark you’re seeing at the top of the page? That little monogram at the bottom? That’s Dan Cassaro, from toe to tip. These people can and should be hired for all your internet and lettering needs. 

With all this fresh paint and fooforaw, it’s almost as if there’s a big announcement around the corner. Only time will tell. 

Underlined words are those responsible for each example sentence.