Meet Philip M. Parker, a marketing professor at INSEAD Business School and the man whose name graces the covers of over 100,000 books. Is he the most prolific author of the modern age? Well, kind of. Thanks to “a computer system that can write books about specific subjects in about 20 minutes,” Parker and his company have combined to create over 800,000 titles currently listed on Amazon – including such works as The Official Patient’s Sourcebook on Spinal Stenosis and Webster’s Icelandic – English Thesaurus Dictionary.
Last week, I followed up the news that “because” may now be used as a preposition by noting that the American Dialect Society had named it their Word of the Year. Now, in The New Republic, John McWhorter argues that the new preposition is used to signal empathy and warmth. (Related: Fiona Maazel on the dangers of bad grammar.)
Point: "Repeated surveys show that children spend less time reading than did previous generations. They instead devote many hours of their waking lives to electronic screens of one kind or another." Counterpoint: "Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1989, spent the most money on books in 2011, taking over long-held book-buying leadership from baby boomers...with 43 percent of GenY's purchases going to online channels, they are adding momentum to the industry shift to digital." Conclusion?
"If one-sentence stories are as common as snowflakes, one-sentence novels are as rare as white ravens." At The New Yorker, Brad Leithauser writes about the one-sentence novel or the point when the story builds to a particular sentence. To give you an example, here's one of his favorites from Lolita: "I am thinking of aurochs and angels, the secret of durable pigments, prophetic sonnets, the refuge of art."