Why do articles go viral? At The New Yorker, Maria Konnikova traces what makes a popular story all the way back to Aristotle, but today’s clickbait has two features: a positive message or an ability to excite the reader emotionally. This probably explains why we love those articles about puppies. Pair with: Our piece on if book titles were written for clicks.
“I couldn’t tell if a poem I was writing would come to anything or not until the last line was there. That’s always been my method. I may have revised less than some other poets, but I think I write as much crap as anyone.” Kaveh Akbar interviews Sharon Olds about inspiration, contemporary poetry, and rejection letters for Divedapper. Pair with this Millions piece, featuring seven editors looking back on their rejection styles.
From one muckracker to another: Thomas Frank on Mailer and Miami.Fear and Loathing at Build-a-Bear WorkshopThe folks at n+1 on Obama and the culture war reduxSarah, the book, nibbles at the edges of Amazon’s Top 10, sparking its own kind of culture war in the reviews section (scroll down)Can Palin! The Musical be far behind?A new tool for mapping bookstores, chain and indieFor Salvadoran novelist Horacio Castellanos Moya, politics are a genetic burdenFrank O’Hara…yeah, New York will do that to youJonathan Yardley on the venerable Elements of StyleDon’t blame me…I voted for Kodos
Not every worthy book finds the audience it deserves as quickly as Edan Lepucki’s California. John Warner writes about the long aftermath of finding his debut, The Funny Man, featured in our 2011 Most Anticipated Book Preview: “I wondered, what if? Maybe this was going to be the next phase of my life, and when people asked me what I did, I’d say that I wrote novels.” His new collection of short stories is Tough Day for the Army.
“As time passed, I realized the Philip Roth I’d known before the two documentaries we ended up doing was in the process of transformation. The Roth I’d known for many years was an obsessively committed writer who, in the terrifying limbo between one book and another, could fall victim to a storm of depression or be spent to the point of looking as if his blood had been drained from his veins… This Philip Roth seemed to be discovering new, unexpected pleasures in life, like spending time in bed reading in the morning or inviting friends to his home to share with him the meals prepared each night by his newly hired, young and lovely cook.” Livia Manera Sambuy writes about her friendship with Philip Roth for The Believer. Pair with Gabriel Roth‘s recent guide to “everything you need to know” about the elder Roth’s oeuvre.