Who are literature’s best imaginary friends?
You may have heard that the pioneering jazz musician Ornette Coleman died last week at the age of eighty-five. As a composer, he was known for his odd melodies, which reliably tested the boundaries of what jazz could accomplish. At The Paris Review Daily, two musicians and writers look back on his legacy.
"There is a term in the legal world for such instructions — dead hand control — and, although compliance has varied and enforceability is debatable, they have been attempted by artists from Franz Kafka to a Beastie Boy." The New York Times explores the potential impact of Edward Albee's will on his work, including his instruction that any manuscripts incomplete at the time of his death be destroyed. Pairs perfectly with Aaron Hamburger's recollection of staying at the famous playwright's place out in Long Island for an artists' residency.
What do you call a genre that mixes westerns and fantasy novels? Damien Walter proposes the term “weird western.” In The Guardian, he runs down the history of the hybrid category, citing Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country and Molly Tanzer’s Vermillion as examples. Pair with Daniel Kalder on the Euro-Western.
Buzzfeed kicked up a storm on Thursday when its first-ever Buzzfeed Books editor, Isaac Fitzgerald, told Poynter that the site’s new vertical won’t publish negative reviews. Invoking the “Bambi rule," Fitzgerald argued that he sees no point “[wasting] breath talking smack about something.” At The Atlantic Wire, Eric Levenson published a counterpoint, while Alexanda Petri poked fun at Fitzgerald in the WaPo.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who have read a book in the last 12 months – 73% – has remained largely unchanged since 2012. And when people do reach for a book, it is much more likely to be a traditional print book than a digital product. See also our essay on the persistence of physical books and, of course, The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, edited by our own C. Max Magee.