“The entire manuscript was written with the E-type bar of the typewriter tied down; thus making it impossible for that letter to be printed. This was done so that none of that vowel might slip in, accidentally; and many did try to do so!” Abe Books tells the tale of Gadsby, a self-published 50,000-word novel written without using the letter “e.” Its author, Ernest Vincent Wright, won some notoriety when he accomplished the feat – called a lipogram – in 1939, although it’s unlikely Wright could have foreseen that individual copies of his book would eventually fetch prices upward of $1,200. And if it’s literary hijinks you’re after, definitely read our own Anne Yoder on the work of Georges Perec, who wrote a lipogram of his own in 1969.
“You write to please yourself. You write for the joy of writing. … The enthusiasm, the joy itself draws me. So that means every day of my life I’ve written. When the joy stops, I’ll stop writing.” Recommended viewing: an animated interview with Ray Bradbury.
At the Paris Review Daily, a post on what bloggers owe Montaigne: “There seems no end to the appeal of the essayist’s basic idea: that you can write spontaneously and ramblingly about yourself and your interests, and that the world will love you for it.” (via Book Bench)
Some of the best novels out there — Huckleberry Finn, Of Mice and Men — deal largely with fictional friendships. Yet depictions of close friends that are central to the plot are considerably rare in modern novels. At The Guardian, AD Miller notes this isn’t the case for movies and TV shows, and suggests a number of reasons why. You could also read our own Kevin Hartnett on friendship in the age of Facebook.