Four days ago, The New York Times exposed the practice of purchasing five-star reviews on Amazon. So far, few have offered solutions. A Reddit user explains how to properly read Amazon review graphs through the cloud of purchased hype. Erin Keane calls for independent writers to hold themselves to higher standards.
A few days ago, our own Kaulie Lewis pointed readers to a LARB essay about Geoff Dyer, which nicely complemented a piece about the author our own Mark O’Connell wrote for Slate back in June. Now, at Full-Stop, David Burr Gerard suggests that Dyer’s strengths, which worked so well in Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, may have hampered him in Another Great Day at Sea. FYI, our own Janet Potter reviewed the latter book for The Millions.
Author Terry Pratchett's archives have been destroyed by steamroller, according to The New York Times. The hard drive containing all of his unpublished work was, per his wishes, run over by a close friend. We ran this remembrance on the occasion of his passing two years ago.
Recommended Reading: Kate Sweeney explores the business of environmentally-minded deep sea burial, which is offered by companies such as Georgia’s Eternal Reefs.
Out this week: The Novel: An Alternative History by Steven Moore; Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat; F, a new book of poems by Franz Wright; and The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd, which Katie Rogin reviewed for us last week. For more on these and other interesting titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
"[Mark] Twain wasn’t above the contrivances of capitalism, even as he skewered them. . . From nonage to dotage, in dire straits or in the pink, he was always a capricious entrepreneur, counting the zeroes on an imaginary balance sheet." The New Yorker writes about the humor writer's many failed attempts to get very rich. From our archives: Twain and the Wild West.