Ultra-niche magazines operate a bit differently than their larger and more mainstream cousins. Magazines like Donkey Talk, which caters exclusively to donkey hobbyists, aim for tiny audiences of a few hundred to a few thousand readers. They also cultivate their own jargon — one magazine, The Mountain Astrologer, tosses the word “quincunx” around as casually as “email.”
In an interview with America Magazine, Pope Francis admits that the authors he most admires are Fyodor Dostoevsky, Johann Hölderlin, The Betrothed author Alessandro Manzoni, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. He also goes on to share an interesting anecdote about his compatriot Jorge Luis Borges: “In the end I decided to send Borges two stories written by [the secondary school] boys [I was teaching]. I knew his secretary, who had been my piano teacher. And Borges liked those stories very much. And then he set out to write the introduction to a collection of these writings.”
A new study out of Stony Brook University employs a complex statistical model to figure out what makes a book successful. Judging books on the basis of Amazon sales, awards won and Project Gutenberg downloads, the scientists determined that successful books have a higher-than-average ratio of self-references, prepositions and coordinating conjunctions. Unsuccessful books, on the other hand? A high ratio of adverbs and location markers.
A July 2009 interview at bookish us with National Book Award nominee Bonnie Jo Campbell. Interesting especially is the question (and answer) about how/why American Salvage, the only book from a small press among this year’s NBA finalists, ended up with Wayne State University Press (with an initial print run of 1,500).
Recommended Reading: Bailey Lewis’s short story at Paper Darts “When the South Wind Blows Glass Shatters and Disappears Like Rain.” “A young girl’s body hurtles through a stationery store window at top speed.”
While calling for the preservation of the wonderful St. Marks Bookshop, Paris Review editor Lorin Stein explains that “magazines like The Paris Review need good bookstores, where the staff knows how to spread the word about good writing, face to face, hand to hand.”