Jessica Love explores a little of the science behind every weary reader’s nemesis: zoning out.
“if I am going to set a novel in a real place, in a real time, I must get all the details right. I should not put a wall around Washington Square, start the Iraq War in 2005, or claim that maple trees bear acorns. This matters because it has to do with keeping faith with your readers. If you get something verifiable wrong, why should they believe you when you really are making things up?” Helen Benedict for Amazon Author Insights on finding the balance between research and imagination when writing fiction. (Full disclosure, Amazon helps us pay the bills around here!)
Those of you with some knowledge of Pale Fire and Lolita won’t be surprised to learn what Nabokov thought of dinner parties. Namely, he thought they were awful, vaguely surreal events, held largely by drunkards with overriding appetites for drama. At The Paris Review Daily, Sadie Stein quotes a passage from “The Vane Sisters” to explain why “It’s hard to think of someone you’d want less at a midcentury faculty tea, save maybe a seething Shirley Jackson.” You could also read our own Garth Risk Hallberg on Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor.
Radiohead can typically do no wrong in the eyes of fans and culture pundits, but author Ian Rankin describes how even these indie heroes got him stuck in customer service hell: ” no e-mail address; no phone line; no possibility of human contact.”
The New York Times looks at new technological efforts to make book signings work in the age of the ebook. One idea is an e-reader add-on that lets the reader snap a photo with the author, which the author can then sign with a “digital stylus.” The photo is meant to make its way to Twitter and Facebook, of course. “Bragging potential? Endless,” says the Times. Authors: get ready to say “cheese”?