What makes an idea too odd to sustain a children’s book? The answer: characteristics that make it, as Steven Heller explains, “so high concept or clever [it’s] deemed difficult for a child to enjoy.”
Happy Halloween! At the New Yorker, the winners of the dress your pet as a literary character contest. Don’t miss the honorable mentions (I’m partial to the feline Moby Dick).
“Fiction is messier. Essay is, for me, an attempt at a kind of clarity. I have a very messy and chaotic mind, but when I’m writing an essay I find I can exert a bit more control over it.” The The Guardian published a Q&A with Zadie Smith with questions from fellow authors, politicians, and fans. Smith’s upcoming essay collection, Feel Free, is featured in the first half of our 2018 Great Book Preview.
Apropos of nothing in particular, here’s a fantastic cake inspired by Moby-Dick. Apropos of whales in general, however, is this beautiful video on the disintegration of a whale carcass inspired by “Radiolab.”
American readers can now get their hands on the latest from Martin Amis, Lionel Asbo: State of England. Also out this week: The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle, Paul Auster’s memoir Winter Journal, Dan Fesperman’s spy novel The Double Game, and a pair of debuts, Hanna Pylväinen’s We Sinners and Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist.
The first time’s always the hardest, right? Well, what if you could dull the pain of future rejection letters by preempting your favorite publication’s editors? That’s right. Now you can reject yourself with the Rejection Generator. And just to show that we’re not taking sides on this issue, check out some of the utter dross agents and editors get offered on a daily basis.