At HTML Giant, Jimmy Chen plots famous writers on two axes: Genius to Mediocrity and Arrogance to Modesty. It may offend you (or leave you feeling satisfied) to know that Tom Wolfe is the plot’s most arrogant author.
Book Riot offers a step-by-step guide to making your own book covers out of paper bags. Not saying this was a thing we did as kids, particularly when jacket design didn’t meet expectations – a certain Dover edition of the Francis Hodgson Burnett classic A Little Princess comes to mind – but not not saying that either.
Who among us hasn’t considered turning to jewel thievery and the heisting life during some of our weaker moments? Over at The Daily Beast, Geoff Manaugh takes a look at why we all secretly dream of becoming jewel thieves. If you enjoyed this heist story but you found it lacking in Ben Affleck, then here’s a piece on his true-crime flick The Town and bad drama.
“She told the students not to explain too much, that they could throw in expressions in Igbo or Yoruba or pidgin and trust the reader to get it. She told them that even if a story was autobiographical it should be shaped—that, for instance, although in life you could have ten close friends, in fiction you could not, because it was too confusing. She told them to avoid inflated language—’never purchase when you can buy.'” A delightful (and somewhat rare) long profile of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the New Yorker.
Another week of literary contests has whittled the Tournament of Books field down to four: Freedom, A Visit From the Goon Squad, Next, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Today, the team offers more analysis, previewing and recapping. Up next: the semis, the Zombie round, and the grand finale.
Pacific Standards profiles Ken Layne who quietly started the popular quarterly literary magazine, Desert Oracle for a town of 8,000 people. Now it has gained far more readers than that as it highlights works related to the American desert. “The reason that the Oracle works is that it’s always trying to elicit that feeling, the awe and wonder that the desert reveals to you when you listen hard enough. Layne believes it’s not an accident that religious awakenings, UFO sightings, walkabouts, and other revelations occur in the desert. It’s a consequence of solitude, stark beauty, and the tenacious life that only the desert has.”