Out this week: Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marías; Fish in Exile by Vi Khi Nao; Virgin and Other Stories by April Ayers Lawson; Valiant Gentleman by Sabina Murray; Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce; Faithful by Alice Hoffman; and Commotion of the Birds by John Ashbery. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.
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."
Before publishing her first story, Eudora Welty worked as a WPA photographer to document the effects of the Great Depression on rural Mississippi. Today, some of her portraits from this time are on display at the Wiljax Gallery in Cleveland, MS. You can take a look at some of them online courtesy of the gallery and The Oxford American.
Could “cozy literary fiction” ever be a thing? Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has penned a passionate defense of the unintentionally hilarious “cozy mystery” genre. Sate your mystery fix with this essay from The Millions’ own Matt Seidel on the four ways to wrap up a mystery tale.