Speaking of festivals, recaps of last weekend’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books are up at Jacket Copy. Rafael Yglesias took home the top fiction prize for his novel, A Happy Marriage.
This past Monday The Paris Review revealed the winners of the first annual Honey & Wax Book Collecting prize. This prize is different from the average literary prize because it focuses on celebrating women under 30 who have a passion for collecting books. The prize was created by the Brooklyn bookstore, Honey & Wax. The owners "O’Donnell and Romney had observed that although the young women who entered their store were passionate about their collections, they rarely referred to themselves as collectors. Their hope is to 'encourage young women who are actively collecting books to own and share that part of their lives, and to think strategically about the future of their collections.'” Meet the women and their incredible collections here and pair it with our post on the complete archives of The Paris Review.
It's been nearly three years since an unknown man last marked Edgar Allan Poe's birthday by leaving three roses and cognac at Poe's grave. Today is Poe's birthday and "Poe fans are planning one last vigil this week before calling an end" to the decades-long tradition of watching the mystery mourner pay his respects. (via)
“If Schiff is right to accuse us of nurturing an unrequited infatuation with what amounts to America’s first tabloid scandal, then she’s done the literary equivalent of force us into a cold shower.” The New Republic reviews Stacy Schiff’s new book, The Witches: Salem, 1692.
"Any day’s news supplies plots so fantastic that most make-believe story lines pale in comparison." Author John Altman in the LA Times about the difficulty of writing fiction during Trump's presidency. "My current novel-in-progress concerns North Korea," writes Altman, "and each day’s headlines endanger its premise. But too much second-guessing hobbles a writer. One can only take a deep breath, remind oneself that war with North Korea would jeopardize much more than a humble spy thriller, and forge ahead, hoping for the best."
We are all by now familiar with J.K. Rowling's elaborate, hand-drawn outlines for the Harry Potter series, but what if all plots could be simplified further? Down to, let's say, graphs? And not even an infinite number of graphs, but just six? The Paris Review considers the work of Matthew Jockers, a literature professor who studies “the relationship between sentiment and plot shape in fiction.”
Shark Week 2013 isn’t for another ten months, but you can satisfy your hunger for tales of nautical catastrophe and man-eating fish with these two databases: WreckSite, a collection of shipwrecks classified by worldwide positions, and The International Shark Attack File, a compilation of “all known shark attacks.”