This week brings the release of Michael Crichton’s posthumously published tale of the high seas, Pirate Latitudes and A Good Fall, a new collection of stories by Ha Jin. Also out recently is Melville House’s Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview.
George Dobbs explores the history of some common cliches for The Airship and makes an elegant argument for being aware of overused phrasing: "The worst fiction might never go beyond widely used tropes, but the best fiction starts with an awareness of them." We agree, and also hope never to read "It was a dark and stormy night..." again.
If you have a blog, you’ve probably fielded suggestions from your relatives about what you should write, who you should write about and what personal issues you should address in your posts. At The Hairpin, Michelle Markowitz shares a conversation with her mother on the subject.
John McWhorter, linguist and author of What Language is (And What it Isn't and What it Could Be), takes a look at the history of spoken and written language in an effort to understand how text messaging, IMs, and other informal forms of written language impact literacy.