Avidly Reads Book Series

New Avidly Book Series!

We are delighted to announce a new venture: Avidly Reads, a short book series published by NYU Press! Over the next few months, we’ll be acquiring and editing manuscripts; please be in touch with your ideas! More details about the series and how to pitch book ideas below.

–Sarah and Sarah


Avidly Reads is a series of short books about how culture makes us feel. Each volume in this series will explore the surprising or counterintuitive pleasures and revulsions of a single cultural experience, phenomenon, or artifact. Written in the “Avidly voice,” a charismatic blend of knowledge, affect, and enthusiasm, the books will offer narratives in which authors account for, and even savor, their own emotional relationships to the subjects they explore. These emotional relationships — enthusiast, apologist, idealist, grouch — are central cultural forces that are difficult to capture within the objective tone of most academic writing. Avidly Reads, on the other hand, invites writers to indulge feelings, and to tell stories, in the casual idioms that distinguish the best conversations about culture.

The Avidly Reads volumes will not only account for pleasure but will themselves be pleasurable — for their authors to write, as well as for others to read. Emotions enliven the writing we support, propel it towards wider audiences, and kindle more luminous reader experiences. Slim volumes of around 30,000 words featuring a signature design, books in the Avidly Reads series will be attractive to readers whether in the coffee shop, classroom, book club, or bar.

What might you read avidly?  Gospel Music, Seventh Grade, Wedding Dresses, Skate Parks, Break-up Songs, Bourbon, Gossip Mags, Leotards, Online Dating, Mixtapes, Prom, The New Yorker, Key Parties, Suburbia, High Heels, Spelling Bees, Gynecology, Murals, Astrology, Pastels, Empire Waists. Once you start, it’s hard to stop.

The Avidly Reads series grows out of the work published on Avidly, which since 2012 has been a venue featuring short form cultural criticism written “with intense eagerness.” Avidly Reads will offer a more expansive context for writing in a similar mode to the Avidly essays listed below.

Cover Art, by Gustavus Stadler
Theses on Hating, by Lara Langer Cohen and Brian Connolly
How to Bring Your Kids Up Bowie, By Glenn Hendler
In Praise of Distraction, by Christina Lupton
Seven Ways of Looking at a Charge Sheet, by Jedediah Purdy
Invisible Children, by Yahdon Israel
Gender Trouble on Mother’s Day, by Jordy Rosenberg



Proposals for Avidly Reads books should provide an overview of your subject, a sense of how the book will be structured, and a few paragraphs of you doing your thing with the subject– whether that’s first-person narrative, close reading, or contextual interpretation. Keep in mind that we’re imagining these books will be narrative rather than “argumentative” in the conventional sense: they should tell a story about the subject and about your intellectual and emotional relationship to it, with an eye towards using your own experience to make your subject meaningful and compelling to your readers. Proposals should be written in the “Avidly voice,” which combines deep knowledge of a subject with personal feeling and a charismatic writerly style.

To get started, first send us a query paragraph briefly describing your subject and envisioned approach. We don’t need a full CV, but give us some sense of who you are and what expertise and perspective you’ll bring to your project. If we would like to see more, we’ll ask for a more developed proposal. Five pages, double-spaced, should do it.

Image: Courtesy of the NYPL