BURN PILE: Buttering The Toast, reflections on final works and more

roxane gay On new beginnings: The Toast will launch its new companion site, The Butter, on October 15 with Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay at the helm. Gay says the site will "focus on cultural criticism and personal essays that make readers think and feel.” Which is fine with Toast co-founder Mallory Ortberg, who says the site will be "WHATEVER ROXANE WANTS IT TO BE."

And on the end: Roger Grenier, prolific French author and editor, reflects on the literary version of "famous last words" at The American Scholar. "Is the final work of a writer—or for that matter of any artist—final according to the writer, or final for everyone else?" Grenier reflects on the creative process in what a writer believes to be their last days, and what happens when the end comes unexpectedly. 

A literary salon grows in Brooklyn: At a Brooklyn bar, patrons workshop short fiction as a game over beer: anonymously. Bartender Matthew D’Abate collects submissions throughout the week and makes five of them available during his Sunday shift at The Plank. D'Abate also cultivates an email list and sends out one of the five to subscribers each week. From a recent email: “The point of Literate Sunday is to remove, if not subvert, the idea of fame, removing the ego and the names from the pieces so the stories may speak for themselves."

On the proven benefits of "slow reading," from the Wall Street Journal: "Screens have changed our reading patterns from the linear, left-to-right sequence of years past to a wild skimming and skipping pattern as we hunt for important words and information... None of this is good for our ability to comprehend deeply, scientists say."