Need to spice up your writing? Try one of McSweeney’s punctuation marks such as the Yellow-Winged Apostrophe, which likes “to ‘peace out’ of its obligation to indicate possession or contraction,” or the Academic Ellipsis, which “is used by those who wish to demonstrate just how much more they know about how to use ellipses than you do.”
For everyone who harbors a deep and mildly-embarrassed love for GIFs in the significant, non-linguistic part of their brains that finds repeated facial expressions far more memorable than words: Ploughshares’ series on classic novels (1984, The Catcher in the Rye, The Scarlet Letter, The Hobbit) will have you laughing and building your cocktail-party knowledge all at once.
Out this week: Swing Time by Zadie Smith; Born a Crime by Trevor Noah; The China Sketchbook by I. Allen Sealy; Writing to Save a Life by John Edgar Wideman; The Abridged History of Rainfall by Jay Hopler; and Forever Words by the late Johnny Cash. For more on these and other new titles, go read our latest fiction and nonfiction book previews.
“I had put manure bags—yes, manure, which is what we could get—at the front and back doors.” Publishers Weekly looks at how Houston-area indie bookstores are faring post-Harvey.
We’ve already got several RSVPs for our NYC indie bookstore walking tour. Get all the details and RSVP if you want to be notified of any schedule changes.The Millions’ Collaborative Atlas of Book Stores and Literary Places is still being added to by our enterprising readers. London in particular is now bristling with points of interest including many bookstores and destinations like St Pancras’ Old Church, where you’ll find the graves of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin.Wyatt Mason’s terrific profile of the poet Frederick Seidel is a must-read.Slate’s Troy Patterson describes the achievement of German sensation Wetlands in autoproctological terms.The William H. Gass site Tunneling posts some remarkable images of Gass’ home library, originally published in 2007 in St. Louis Magazine.L.J. Davis, financial journalist and author of the recently reissued novel A Meaningful Life, offers an insider’s look at house-flipping during booms… and busts.Is a two-novelist marriage sustainable? (from Canteen)And what’s up with J.D. Salinger these days, anyway? (via)Philip Hensher looks back at novels from the dawn of the Thatcher era.Can’t get enough of poet Nathaniel Bellows? Listen to him read.Is Barnes & Noble hoping to arrive better late than never to the ebook reader party?”Wendell Steavenson went looking for remorse among the men who served Saddam Hussein. Her fruitless search, George Packer writes, has produced one of the few lasting works to come out of the Iraq war.”Google gets even better at scanning books.Green Apple Books talks about “cool books we’ll never sell.”
You could spend a long car ride thinking about about all of the books that are currently outselling Rand Paul’s newest, Our Presidents & Their Prayers: Proclamations of Faith by America’s Leaders. According to data obtained from Nielsen BookScan, Paul’s book has sold less than 500 copies in two weeks. For reference, the end of Michelle Bachmann’s ill-fated 2012 presidential campaign was foreshadowed by her book, Core of Conviction, selling just a few thousand copies in the same time that it has taken Paul’s to sell hundreds.
A while back, I wrote about Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher, which may be the first novel in history written entirely in the form of recommendation letters. Now, at The Rumpus, Anjali Enteti sits down with Schumacher, who talks about writing by hand, the adjunct crisis, and why it’s okay that so many people are getting MFAs. You could also read our own Nick Ripatrazone on why MFA grads should teach high school.