Google ran into a wall of litigation when it tried to create a public digital archive of every book in the world. Now a team of academics is taking on the challenge. Nicholas Carr examines whether Robert Darton and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society can succeed where Silicon Valley failed. Also be sure to check out our review of Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains.
“My ear for the diction and rhythms of poetry was trained by — in chronological order — Dr. Seuss, Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, the guitar solos of Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, and T.S. Eliot.” Author Denis Johnson has died at age 67, reports The Washington Post. Our own Sonya Chung recommended Johnson’s celebrated short story collection Jesus’ Son to a friend some years back, saying “I know it will knock him out. It does (of course).”
If you’re struggling with your writing, turn to biographies of famous authors. This is Tom Perrotta’s cure for writer’s block. “It’s inspiring to read about a flawed human being who struggled with his or her demons and afflictions, experienced paralyzing episodes of failure or self-doubt, but somehow managed to do the work anyway, and produce something that enriched the world. That’s my version of self-help,” he said in a New York Times “By the Book” interview.
On behalf of every reader / HBO viewer who has spent days upon days in Westeros and is beginning to get a little anxious for Game of Thrones updates, Entertainment Weekly has spoken with George R. R. Martin himself to confirm publication plans and talk about the television series. That’s not to say that Martin is committing himself to any hard and fast schedule, though. “My plan right now is still seven,” he says, referencing his A Song of Ice and Fire series. “But first I have to finish Book Six. Get back to me when I’m half-way through Book Seven and then maybe I’ll tell you something more meaningful.”
Junot Díaz has criticized MFA programs for being “too white.” So what’s on his syllabi? Salon found the syllabi for the two courses Díaz teaches at MIT. In his fantasy world-building class, students read everyone from Bram Stoker to Octavia Butler. His advanced fiction course includes stories by Edwidge Danticat and Roberto Bolaño. Where can we sign up?
“I think the key to social media for authors is remembering this: its main purpose is really to show that you are a real human being who lives in this world.” Year in Reading alums (respectively) Celeste Ng, Alexander Chee, Roxane Gay, and Adam M. Grant talk to LitHub about how to be a writer on the internet.
Brooklyn Poets wants to build The Bridge, a social networking site aimed at connecting student poets with mentor poets. The idea is that students could find mentors for less money than a workshop or writing program might cost, and that mentors would be able to get paid without having to locate a hard-to-find teaching job. You can get a fuller idea of the plan on the organization’s IndieGoGo page.
Out this week: Heroes of the Frontier by Dave Eggers; The Unseen World by Liz Moore; Leaving Lucy Pear by Anna Solomon; Bad Faith by Theodore Wheeler; My Name Is Leon by Kit de Waal; and Home Field by our own Hannah Gersen (who we interviewed). For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview.