“‘A language without umlauts,’ he wrote, ‘sounds monotonous, harsh, and boring.'” If Esperanto just doesn’t have enough umlauts, Volapük just might be the right made-up language for you.
Everything you’ve ever wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about book sales — from what the heck even constitutes a sale, to standard print runs, to author earnings per sale — from Lincoln Michel at Electric Literature.
You may have heard that Vulture editor Adam Sternbergh was nominated for an Edgar Award for his book Shovel Ready last week. Now, to give Vulture readers a taste of his literary style, he’s published an annotated excerpt of the sequel Near Enemy, which came out earlier this month. As the introduction puts it, the excerpt includes “thoughts on history’s first murder, the dubious appeal of Pepé Le Pew, and just how crazy New York apartment locks used to be.”
“Her only ‘crime’ has been that she has used her ‘freedom of speech’ to attract attention to injustice, because her conscience will not allow her to remain silent.” A campaign calls for the release of Aslı Erdoğan, an acclaimed Turkish novelist currently being held by her government on nebulous charges. Also did you know: our own editor-in-chief, Lydia Kiesling, speaks Turkish?
“Fifty Shades of Grey follows this long history of class ascendancy via feminine wiles, but does so cleverly disguised as an edgy modern bodice-ripper,” writes Heather Havrilesky in the latest issue of The Baffler. Throughout the piece, Havrilesky explores the way luxury brand fetishism and conspicuous consumption fueled E.L. James’s “female-friendly” pornography phenomenon
Award-winning poet Alice Oswald has pulled out of prestigious poetry award the TS Eliot prize in protest over its sponsorship by an investment company. Oswald’s words: “I think poetry should be questioning not endorsing such institutions.”
“I’m a total database nerd. In college I worked as a troubleshooter for a database of medical research, trying to predict and prevent mistakes in the data entry process to avoid screwing up the records. Is anything more satisfying than a successfully written query delivering precisely the required results? It’s so much more direct than writing fiction. A query either works or it doesn’t.” Steve Himmer’s Nervous Breakdown self-interview.
James Gleick talks to one of the software engineers behind autocorrect, that “impish god” responsible for turning our ids to I’ds and moviestars to Natalie Portmanteaus. In response, Jen Doll wonders whether we love to hate autocorrect “because when it messes up we’re happily reminded that phones and computers are not actually smarter than people.”