“Secret societies, camorras, mafias, et al., have no place in a detective story. To be sure, the murderer in a detective novel should be given a sporting chance; but it is going too far to grant him a secret society to fall back on. No high-class, self-respecting murderer would want such odds.” -From the much-quoted 1928 essay by SS Van Dine, noted art critic and mystery writer, on the 20 rules for writing detective stories. (via Guardian)
The latest in virtual author appearances, an especially useful option for literary venues in the snowy midwest during winter: Hannah Tinti on Skype (audio and video) in Minneapolis via the Magers & Quinn "Books & Bars" Book Club series.
This week in book-related graphics: An image-heavy test that combines poetry with traffic signs from Ploughshares, and an infographic breaking down the most fearsome (and most useless) characters in The Iliad.
Oh, ghostwriter: that poorly-paid name snuck into the "Acknowledgements" section somewhere after agent's agent and ex-wife's third cousin. In the middle ground between Michael D'Orso, who spoke to The Millions of job satisfaction as a hired pen, and Sari Botton, whose reminisces are full of horror stories, Andrew Croft, author of 80 books that sold 10M copies under other people's names, offers a circumspect take in his Guardian profile. "The ghost is advised never to forget that, at the end of the day, he or she ranks somewhere between a valet and a cleaner."
"A good translation, Han’s subconscious seems to suggest, is a living, breathing thing, which must be understood on its own terms, discovered from beneath the great white sheet." The New Yorker explores Han Kang's novels and the complex nature of translation. From our archives: The Millions review of Kang's The Vegetarian and an essay on what gets lost (and transformed) in translation.
During the riots in Baltimore following Freddie Gray's death, the city's chief librarian insisted her neighborhood branch remain open. Yesterday that librarian, Dr. Carla D. Hayden, was sworn in as the 14th librarian of Congress, the first woman and African-American to hold the position. We wonder what Dr. Hayden might make of our own Jacob Lambert's "Open Letter to the Person Who Wiped Boogers on My Library Book."