Roger Boylan at the Boston Review writes about the flourishing posthumous career of Mark Twain: “…more than 5,000 previously unknown letters of Twain’s have surfaced in the last 50 years. This represents an average of two new letters per week, but still only about one-tenth of the 50,000 or so he is believed to have written.” And at Slate, Craig Fehrman discusses the “brilliant brand management” behind the handling of Twain’s autobiography.
If you thought Bill Gates was content donating millions of dollars to charities around the world and hiding out in his exorbitantly expensive mansion compound, think again! The Microsoft founder and tech mogul reviews books on his personal blog, Gates Notes–and those reviews actually drive sales. Move over “Colbert Bump,” the Gates Bump is here to stay.
Are books on the way to becoming luxury objects? At Salon, Daniel D’Addario makes a case that they are, explaining how a new aestheticism in book design points to a future in which books function mainly as art objects. (While we’re on the subject of book design, it’s a good time to look back on our U.S.-U.K. book cover battle.)
Fresh on the heels of his gargantuan New York Times Magazine profile, as well as the announcement that he’s led Jon Huntsman Jr. in the South Carolina polls, political prankster Stephen Colbert has decided to run for “president of the United States of South Carolina.” This, of course, is not the first time he’s pulled this stunt, but it is the first time he’s done it with this much funding. All of this raises the question of whether this is political satire or “School House Rock on Steroids.” But don’t get too excited. Apparently folks from the Palmetto State will not actually be able to vote for him.
It’s 1957. You’re Truman Capote. Your editor at The New Yorker, inspired in part by an excellent sense of humor, has asked you to write about an upcoming film (based on a novel by James Michener) that stars none other than Marlon Brando. How do you handle it?
Out this week: City of Secrets by Stewart O’Nan; Ladivine by Marie NDiaye; These Heroic, Happy Dead by Luke Mogelson; The Adventurist by J. Bradford Hipps; and Whosoever Has Let a Minotaur Enter Them by Emily Carr. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.