“What I didn’t know then was that these decorations evolved from the Jewish menora, the Hebrew festival of lights. I don’t think my mother knew that either, but if she did she never mentioned it. And I certainly never contemplated the resemblance of a sleigh to a cradle. A sleigh is basically a very large cradle.” Mary Ruefle on Christmas trees.
When Adrienne Raphel got to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she found a group of writers as addicted to fonts as she was. Over time, a “font subculture” developed among the poets, who settled on particular fonts as their signatures, at least for a while. At The Paris Review Daily, she writes about her typographic bent. Pair with our own Garth Risk Hallberg on the use of fonts in publishing.
In theory, the author of a great novel is invisible to the reader, letting her stories and characters speak for themselves. In practice, however, it can help for an author to make herself known, as explained by Tim Parks in this essay. Sample quote: “We have the impression that if someone ever did find the full story of his life, we would immediately recognize the person we had in mind.”
While researching In Cold Blood, Truman Capote took pains to get the story right, so much so that the final product was, he claimed, “immacutely factual.” The tale of his labors is so well-known that Bennett Miller used it as the basis of his movie Capote. So when allegations surface that the author made deliberate errors, the story gets a little bit… awkward.