In the spring of 2006, John Unsworth taught a graduate seminar on “Twentieth-Century American Bestsellers.” It led to one of history’s finest class projects–a browsable database of bestsellers, 337 in all. As with any bestseller lists, you’ll find a range of titles, everything from Thomas Wolfe to Tom Clancy, but click through and find that each entry includes an extremely detailed description of the book’s history (these were compiled by graduate students, after all); a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, and even some ads; and more. It is, in short, bibliophilic crack. (Thanks Craig)
For the last couple days #badwritingtips, a collection of hilarious writing tips to take your novel from typical to terrible, have been trending on twitter. The Guardian rounded up a few of their favorites. Perhaps this advice will help out the unlucky souls retweeted on working on my novel.
Park Slopers, I’ll be reading tonight at 7 p.m. at The Community Bookstore on 7th Avenue, with our former guest contributor Joshua Henkin and some other folks, in celebration of the long running literary magazine Glimmer Train. It would be lovely to see some familiar faces, or new ones.
James Hynes discusses the books he read when writing his latest novel, Next: “I wanted to see if I could write a day-in-the-life novel, a narrative that would be set in a single day, or part of one, and by working backwards and forwards through flashbacks, encompass the entire life of a single character.”
“Driving hundreds of miles at a time… uncorked the forgotten joys of my undergraduate years—chief among them the fantasy that simply buying a book guarantees that it will get read.” Ted Trautman on going on a book-buying binge during a cross-country road-trip.
Amazon is battling the multi-platform capabilities of Google’s new ebookstore with its new “Kindle for the Web.” The demo makes it look pretty easy on the eyes. Kindle books were already accessible on a number of mobile platforms. What’s new here is taking the Kindle capabilities to the PC.