The release date for Thomas Pynchon’s new novel is three weeks away, and to mark the occasion, Boris Kachka runs through a quick biography of the perpetually mysterious author. Among other things, Kachka points out that Pynchon resides in a fairly odd neighborhood for a recluse to choose to live in — the Upper West Side. (Previously: “Thomas Pynchon to Publish New Novel” and “New Thomas Pynchon Teaser.”)
First there was The Hunger Games summer camp, and now there will be a Divergent theme camp in Naperville, Illinois. Camp Divergent will feature activities based on the five factions, such as brain teasers on Erudite day and planting vegetables on Amity day. Don’t worry; no one will be ziplining off of a skyscraper for Dauntless.
Is all publicity good publicity? Are all reviews—even bad ones—good for books? The answer, according to a new study [pdf] by the journal Marketing Science, depends on whether the writer is well known or unknown. The study examined the impact of a New York Times review on the sales of more than 200 hardcover titles. For books by established writers, a negative review led to a 15% decrease in sales. For unknown authors, a negative review increased sales by a healthy 45%.
Recommended Reading: Jenny Diski on our lost words. “So I had a thought about writing a book for the elderly, the old. Those who have lost their words more comprehensively than the friends around our lunch table, but haven’t lost themselves entirely. A book about where all the words go, where after a time they find the others and collaborate to make sentences.”
As a way of commemorating Philip Roth’s 80th birthday, the Newark Preservation and Landmarks committee is offering a $35 bus tour called “Philip Roth’s Newark.” Visitors will get a tour of “places recalled in Mr. Roth’s books” such as Washington Park, the Essex County Courthouse and “various spots in the Weequahic neighborhood where Mr. Roth was born and raised.”