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.
With the Ender’s Game movie approaching, critics of Orson Scott Card are drawing attention to the writer’s anti-gay rhetoric. In protest of his position, they compelled DC Comics to scrap a Card-penned Superman comic and started a movement to boycott the upcoming movie. In New York Magazine, Kyle Buchanan runs through the nitty-gritty of the controversy, which includes a recent statement from Card that the repeal of DOMA means “the gay marriage issue” is now “moot.” (You might also want to read our interview with Card from back in May.)
In a 6,000 word essay for The Point, founding editor Jon Baskin wades into the personal and professional psychodrama of the Franzen-Wallace friendship. Beneath the public surface, finds deep questions about the "novel of the self," the "novel of society," and the life worth living.
Is "the two-person collaboration... the essential creative act"? Joshua Wolf Shenk thinks so, and he's written a book defending his position, aptly titled The Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. While John Lennon and Paul McCartney are his primary examples and the root of his argument, famous author duos are also referenced - C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, for one. Shenk even "works to transform even famously lonely figures — Rainer Maria Rilke, Emily Dickinson, Martin Luther King Jr. — into one side of a duet." Consider us skeptical but intrigued.