To celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in 2016, he’s getting a makeover. Jeanette Winterson is writing a cover of The Winter’s Tale, and Anne Tyler will be revamping The Taming of the Shrew for a 21st century audience. While you wait, watch Joss Whedon’s update of Much Ado About Nothing.
Why do articles go viral? At The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova traces what makes a popular story all the way back to Aristotle, but today’s clickbait has two features: a positive message or an ability to excite the reader emotionally. This probably explains why we love those articles about puppies. Pair with: Our piece on if book titles were written for clicks.
A new Hemingway App promises to trim the fat from your writing in a way that the Great Bearded One would’ve approved. The app uses various color codes to highlight writing written in the passive voice, writing that’s too hard to read, and also unnecessary adverbs or complex phrases. Sounds interesting enough, no? Well, the problem is that someone ran the Hemingway App on some actual Ernest Hemingway writing, and it turns out that Papa himself didn’t even write to the app’s standard.
“We always try to create the worst opinion of everything there is in the United States, as a response to what they have always done with us. The only difference is that we do not write falsehoods about the United States. I told you that we emphasize the worst things, that we omit things that could be viewed as positive, but we do not invent any lies.” This excerpted interview with Fidel Castro over at The Paris Review is enlightening for its candor and frankness.
Our humongous second-half preview will keep you busy planning your to-read list for the rest of the year, but there are some intriguing new books out this week too. Bonnie Jo Campbell’s novel Once Upon a River is now out, as is Edie Meidav’s Lola, California. (Don’t miss the remarkable essay Meidav wrote for us recently.) Also new is the latest from Benjamin Black (John Banville’s pen name), A Death in Summer, and Flip Flop Fly Ball, a collection of light-hearted and very clever baseball infographics from Craig Robinson (whose work also appears on his blog).
New from Stephen Fry: Stephen Fry in America: Fifty States and the Man Who Set Out to See Them All, a book recounting his travels in America while filming the BBC series of the same name–enlighteningly and entertainingly reviewed at The Washington Times. Includes the shocking revelation that Fry very nearly became an American!
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The New York Times profiles MacArthur Genius and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates as one of America’s foremost public intellectuals. His book We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy (which we have been anticipating for months) is released this Tuesday.