- Clusty has unveiled a very cool Shakespeare search engine, allowing one to sift through all the bard’s works with the push of a button.
- The Washington Post is hosting live lunchtime chats with various authors over the next two weeks to coincide with the 2006 National Book Festival. The highlight: Geraldine Brooks, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning The March on Thursday.
- Just announced: Another Hannibal book from Thomas Harris called Hannibal Rising, prompting Ed to call Harris “The Laziest Titler in the Publishing Industry.”
“Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Rudyard Kipling, and Charles Dickens wrote about opium smoking in their novels. But if you read the way they describe opium smoking, without a doubt these people never saw the real thing. It’s laughable…What we see in movies, even to this day, with the obligatory London opium-smoking scene is complete fiction.” Interview with a modern-day opium addict.
In their closing statements, Russian dissidents du jour Pussy Riot cited the authors who inspired them and placed themselves in Russia’s rich history of imprisoning their artists. Also check out Carol Rumens’s excellent translation of the song that landed Pussy Riot in hot water.
We give up a book for many reasons: it was too long, the writing was dull, it was written by E.L. James. Goodreads has charted just when and why we abandon books. Catch-22 is the number one abandoned book. (Confession: I didn’t finish it either.) Also, see our article on the pressures of finishing novels in the age of literary social media.
Recommended Reading: On Raymond Carver’s birthday, his brother James stopped by Electric Literature to share his memories of what it was like growing up with the man behind such works as Will You Please Be Quiet, Please and What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
Boston has announced the country’s first “Literary Culture District,” marked by memorials to Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Plath. It also includes some arguably less interesting sites – the buildings that used to house The Atlantic Monthly and Little, Brown and Company, for example. Caroline O’Donovan writes critically about the new district for The Baffler and concludes that “we’ve allowed glib cultural ideals to occlude economic realities, and tourism tax dollars to triumph over a candid conversation about the origins of art and the sustainability of its production.”