At Salon, Daniel Roberts profiles Tao Lin, the next big thing in urban hipster lit. According to the skinny jeans-clad hipsters reading his books on the L train, at least. Says one: “That guy is the next big thing.”
Emily Dickinson wrote her poetry in a house in Amherst. Mark Twain wrote many of his best works on his estate in Connecticut. And Geoffrey Chaucer, it turns out, wrote in a cramped bachelor pad, nestled in the east side of the wall surrounding London. In The Spectator, a reading of Paul Strohm’s Chaucer’s Tale, which describes a pivotal year in the poet’s life.
JSTOR will be making 500,000 articles from over 200 journals freely available to the public. These will include items published before 1923 in the US, and published before 1870 abroad. Earlier this month, I rounded up a few pieces by people who think the entire database should be free.
Out this week: The Early Stories of Truman Capote; Slade House by David Mitchell; After Alice by Gregory Maguire; Dark Corners by Ruth Rendell; The British Lion by Tony Schumacher; We Five by Mark Dunn; and a book of quotations by Cheryl Strayed. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
Kudos to Claire Vaye Watkins for taking home the Dylan Thomas Prize! Worth £30,000, the prize went to Watkins because, in the words of of the chair of the judging panel, she possesses “some of Dylan Thomas’s extraordinary skill in the short story form.” (Read more about Watkins’s work in Geoff Mak’s review of her 2012 book Battleborn.)
A new study out of Stony Brook University employs a complex statistical model to figure out what makes a book successful. Judging books on the basis of Amazon sales, awards won and Project Gutenberg downloads, the scientists determined that successful books have a higher-than-average ratio of self-references, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions. Unsuccessful books, on the other hand? A high ratio of adverbs and location markers.
“Mom would meet up with us in the museum, take us to study Impressionist or Modern art. It always made me want to puke, but we did it every weekend for over a year.” Smithsonian Magazine has a lovely piece about the story behind the children’s classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, including lots of anecdotes from author E.L. Konigsburg‘s kids.