Curiosities

“You’re a fiction writing professor.”

“You have a hard time imagining how the things you've experienced or discovered, which seem abjectly personal, could be of use to another writer. You're aware that you can follow every single rule in the book, and still write a crappy story.” The Preservationist author Justin Kramon grapples with the idea of teaching writing to college students.
Curiosities

You Can’t Go Home Again (If You Understand What This Means)

The 113th anniversary of Thomas Wolfe’s birthday was last Thursday, but the author lives on in America’s cultural memory thanks to the title of his 1940 novel, You Can’t Go Home Again. Unfortunately, the titular phrase seems to be taken at face value by many people these days, and that can lead to some groan-worthy invocations. A newly-minted Tumblr blog illustrates the point.
Curiosities

My Struggle: Special Editions

When all is said and done, Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle series will consist of six published volumes. In light of the overwhelmingly positive reception for the epic Norwegian books – which have garnered heaps of praise around these parts – Archipelago Books is raising money to produce a special, hardcover edition of each installment.
Curiosities

“praise the Hennessy, the brown / shine, the dull burn.”

Recommended Reading: “Praise Song” by Nate Marshall, one of America’s brightest young poets.
Curiosities

Submissions Open for Dzanc’s Non-Fiction Award

Dzanc Books began the submissions period for its 2013-2014 Non-Fiction Award. The indie press is looking for memoir, political, historical, and biographical manuscripts. Millions contributor Nathan Deuel – whose book Friday Was the Bomb will be published by Dzanc in May -- will select a winner from among a list of ten finalists, and the top manuscript will be published in the Fall of 2015. The deadline to enter is June 30, 2014.
Curiosities

How the Nobel Odds Are Made

Ladbrokes, the popular bookmaker, has correctly predicted the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature with “a 50 percent accuracy rate” over the past eight years. This remarkable record is noteworthy because the oddsmakers do not actually read any of the books, and they do not go about “forming an opinion about the relative merits of each author.” Instead, the folks responsible for each year’s odds “appl[y] a numerical value to things like industry chatter, an author’s nationality, historical precedent.” So, that in mind, how confident do you feel about Haruki Murakami’s chances?
Curiosities

From Whence the Twain?

What inspired Samuel Clemens to change his name to Mark Twain? Was it a Mississippi riverboat captain? Did he earn it by “drinking at a one-bit saloon in Virginia City, Nevada?” Or, as rare book dealer Kevin Mac Donnell now alleges in the new issue of Mark Twain Journal, did the author find his pseudonym in a popular humor journal?
Curiosities

Pshaw! Gulp! Excelsior! Ach!

For 50 years, The New York Review of Books has written some of the best headlines in the business. Matthew Howard rounds up every headline. Our favorites include: "Don't Sing Your Crap," "How Unpleasant to Meet Mr. Baudelaire!", "Welcome to New Dork," "It's Your Fault, Henry James," and "Portrait of the Artist as a Paradox."
Curiosities

Grave Mistake

Stephen King's novels are about to become a reality. The Stanley Hotel, the hotel that inspired The Shining, is digging up its pet cemetery to make room for a wedding pavilion. Haven't they read Pet Sematary?
Curiosities

Cool Story, Bro

The word "cool" has been cool for more than 70 years. At Slate, Carl Wilson examines why this slang stuck, and how it's evolved from being used by beatniks to smartphone companies. "Cool is an attitude that allows detached assessment, but one that prizes an air of knowingness over specific knowledge. I think that’s why it doesn’t become dated, unlike hotter-running expressions of enthusiasm like groovy or rad." Pair with: Michael Agger's essay on why we love the "cool story, bro" meme.