Got a smartphone? Check out the new Sonnets by William Shakespeare app to receive 154 poems, scholarly annotations and criticism, as well as special sonnet performances from such notables as Sir Patrick Stewart. Revisiting The Bard of Avon’s verse will prove so pleasurable; you’ll probably forget altogether that he was a self-plagiarist way before Jonah Lehrer.
Point: Dan Chaon believes younger writers should read more contemporary writing before attempting to be published themselves. Counterpoint: J. Robert Lennon believes most contemporary writing is a waste of would-be writers’ precious time. TL;DR Version: Nathan Elwood notes that if writers “want to change the face of literary fiction … [they should] at least know what it looks like.”
As literary genres go, bathroom graffiti ranks somewhere between obscenities carved into desks and poorly spelled comments in terms of respectability. Yet it’s still a form that could reveal interesting things, which is why a group of researchers took a series of fact-finding trips to public stalls across America. Their takeaway? “The mere fact of being in a public bathroom could be skewing how people choose to present themselves when they uncap that Sharpie.” Related: Buzz Poole on The History of American Graffiti.
Who better to review a new sci-fi book than Ursula Le Guin? The Guardian editors couldn’t think of a better candidate either. She reviewed the new story collection Three Moments of an Explosion by the English writer China Miéville. Sample quote: “Pastiche, when present, is so skilful that it can go unnoticed.” You could also read our own Bill Morris on discovering Miéville’s work.
When I was young, my mother always told me I should eat my carrots so my vision would improve. For twenty four years, I’ve obeyed. But now it seems I’ve been living a lie all this time. (Bonus carrot link: the most common type used to be purple, but orange was normalized to please the Dutch monarchy.)
Geoff Nicholson of the New York Times compares the rules of drinking and the rules of writing in light of the recent reissue of famous cocktail guide The Hour (with a new introduction by Daniel Handler, otherwise known as Lemony Snicket).