This week we have new on shelves: Julie Orringer’s hotly anticipated debut novel The Invisible Bridge; Meghan Daum’s memoir of real estate addiction Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, Private Life by Jane Smiley, and The Singer’s Gun by our own Emily St. John Mandel.
“What traits make Austen special, and can they be measured with data? Can literary genius be graphed?” The New York Times tackles the question of why, 200 years after her death, Jane Austen is still so popular. (One finding: the author“used intensifying words — like very, much, so — at a higher rate than other writers.”) See also: our interview with Curtis Sittenfeld, whose most-recent novel Eligible is the ultimate literary tribute, an adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
The archives of the British Library have been digitized, and among many other gems is this rejection of George Orwell’s Animal Farm by none other than T.S. Eliot, himself: “And after all, your pigs are far more intelligent than the other animals, and therefore the best qualified to run the farm – in fact, there couldn’t have been an Animal Farm at all without them: so that what was needed (someone might argue), was not more communism but more public-spirited pigs.”
Ladbrokes, the popular bookmaker, has correctly predicted the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature with “a 50 percent accuracy rate” over the past eight years. This remarkable record is noteworthy because the oddsmakers do not actually read any of the books, and they do not go about “forming an opinion about the relative merits of each author.” Instead, the folks responsible for each year’s odds “appl[y] a numerical value to things like industry chatter, an author’s nationality, historical precedent.” So, that in mind, how confident do you feel about Haruki Murakami’s chances?
Conversational Reading covers “Four Greek Writers That You Should (and Can) Read.”Wells Tower interviewed on The Dinner Party Download.Anne Trubek at Good Magazine recommends our site to “Post-Collegiate Literary Types”The Elegant Variation gets a new reader. Congratulations, Mark!Make of this what you will: “Popular Japanese horror writer Koji Suzuki will publish a short novel called Drop on rolls of toilet paper.”Wikipedia Find of the Week I: Criticism of Wikipedia (so meta)Wikipedia Find of the Week II: No one cares about your garage band (so snarky)”Updike’s Sunset:” Kakutani takes on two newly published Updike collections, My Father’s Tears and Other Stories and Endpoint and Other Poems.Further Reading: Consider revisiting our guest post from last week, Finding Indie Opportunity on The Kindle, where a very interesting discussion developed in the comments.