Some will find Publishers Weekly’s list of top selling books in 2009 endlessly fascinating. The name I was most surprised to see on the list? R. Crumb, whose The Book of Genesis Illustrated apparently sold 119,914 copies last year. (via)
The oil boom occurring in North Dakota, Montana, and Canada's Bakken Formation is so frantic right now that ND's unemployment rate is only 3.4%, the lowest in the nation. "Hiring is so frantic," writes Business Week's Bryan Gruley, "the McDonald's in Dickinson [North Dakota] is offering $300 signing bonuses."
Those who watch the book deal emails from Publishers Lunch know that Chad Harbach, an editor at n+1, recently sold his first novel, The Art of Fielding, but a Bloomberg article today reveals it went for an eye-popping $650,000. The book centers around baseball at a fictional Wisconsin college, and Bloomberg pegs the deal as "one of the highest prices for a man’s first novel on a topic appealing to a male audience." Possible buried lede: n+1 compatriots Benjamin Kunkel and Keith Gessen saw their first novels sell 48,000 and 7,000 copies respectively, according to Neilsen BookScan.
Villanelle Bot, a Twitter bot that composes poems in villanelle form, is publishing the automated poetry on their blog. The bot uses Twitter posts from random people, then stitches together all lines that end in certain words to form a full poem. You could also check out our piece on the best of literary Twitter.
In 1847, Charles Dickens founded a house for homeless women in the Shepherd’s Bush neighborhood of London. After setting up the center’s amenities, he publicized the house using leaflets and, upon hearing that London society was shocked that the center had a piano, spread a rumor that the center boasted a piano for every resident. At The Guardian, a look at a letter Dickens wrote to the matron of the house, to be sold at Christie’s in May. (h/t The Paris Review)