Last night I went to see Zadie Smith read and chat at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. I wrote a little #LitBeat about it, which makes it officially NW day at The Millions, given today’s main page review.
Out this week: Gratitude by Oliver Sacks; And Yet by Christopher Hitchens; The Lost Garden by Ang Li; and a new edition of Drum Taps: The Complete Civil War Poems by Walt Whitman. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great Second-Half 2015 Book Preview.
If you haven’t watched it already, you should now. Lin-Manuel Miranda reads a sonnet in honor of his wife and the victims of the Orlando massacre at the Tony Awards. “And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.”
Next week, the folks at Literary Death Match are bringing literature into the third dimension by staging “LDM TV: The Pilot.” Two shows consisting of four readers apiece will take place in Los Angeles, and performances will be judged by a killer lineup including such notables as Susan Orlean, Michael C. Hall, Moby and Tig Notaro. Full event details can be found here. For what it’s worth, I still rank Matt Gajewski’s LDM performance as my all-time favorite, so Beau Sia, Simon Rich, Daniel Alarcón and company have their work cut out for them.
Interested in writing a bestseller? You may want to check out Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers' newest book, The Bestseller Code. Or maybe not: "At times, it seems like Archer and Jockers are trying to retrofit a closed system. They found that best-sellers have lots of contractions—the better, they explain, to mimic contemporary speech—and exclamation points only rarely ... They conclude that best-sellers consist of 'shorter, cleaner sentences, without unneeded words,' and that best-selling characters 'make things happen.' Active verbs predict best-sellers better than passive verbs. 'Hesitation doesn’t keep pages turning,' Archer and Jockers decide. After all that work, in other words, the algorithm ends up confirming the uncontested tenets of craft and style."