The Silent History is being billed as a “new kind of novel.” Readers download a free app for their iOS devices and, over a period of six months, the app will deliver brief, serialized installments of an “exploratory novel.” Certain features of the story depend on your geographic location, and readers also have the opportunity to contribute their own features. For a full primer, as well as interview with Eli Horowitz, one of the “key figures” behind the idea, head over to VQR’s website.
In the spring of 2006, John Unsworth taught a graduate seminar on “Twentieth-Century American Bestsellers.” It led to one of history’s finest class projects–a browsable database of bestsellers, 337 in all. As with any bestseller lists, you’ll find a range of titles, everything from Thomas Wolfe to Tom Clancy, but click through and find that each entry includes an extremely detailed description of the book’s history (these were compiled by graduate students, after all); a mini-essay on its reception; images of covers, page layouts, and even some ads; and more. It is, in short, bibliophilic crack. (Thanks Craig)
Now that Louise Erdrich has won the National Book Award, it’s worth looking back on her interviews from recent years. You can read her piece in the Art of Fiction series, published in 2010 in The Paris Review; you could try her interview with the Times from back in October; or else you could take a look at her sit-down with The New Yorker in April. (This probably goes without saying, but you could also just read her new novel.)
“What’s emerging from these studies isn’t just a theory of language or of metaphor. It’s a nascent theory of consciousness.” Michael Chorost writes about the importance of metaphors in literature and the brain.
To encourage first edition sales of Haruki Murakami’s latest novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, his publishers are going to include “a special sheet of stickers designed by five Japanese illustrators.” If that sounds as corny to you as it does to me, then consider the fact that the book likely does not need any real marketing strategy whatsoever: when it came out in Japan, it sold over a million copies per week.
“Books can be dangerous objects–under their influence people start to wonder, dream, and think.” In “celebration” of Banned Book Week, the New York Public Library has a quiz for you to find out how much you know about the freedom to read. See also our tribute to The Bluest Eye, one of the United States’ most challenged books.
Over at The Literary Hub, real-life writer Anthony Marra has conducted a hilarious interview with Dana Schwartz, the creative mind behind everyone’s favorite–if uncomfortably familiar–Twitter account, @GuyInYourMFA. Here’s the New York Times review of Marra’s latest novel, The Tsar of Love and Techno.