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.
“To be able to sing under that kind of oppression I think, in a lot of ways, is the very essence of survival, of a people, of the ability to have to the hope to make something beautiful amongst so much wretchedness.” Tyehimba Jess, author of the fantastic new collection of poetry Olio, is interviewed over at The Literary Hub.
Literary gold: Don Baiocchi’s list of books that are responses to other books.The top 50 film adaptations of books. The Guardian never seems to tire of such lists.Benetton, whose Colors magazine is one of my favorites, is participating in the New York festival of Internatonal Literature by hosting a conversation series. They’re looking to get people involved: “Through the BenettoTalk blog it is possible for everyone to join the conversations, posting questions and generating debate, some days before they happen. Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Lethem, Rodrigo Fresan, Helen Oyeyemi and many others will answer you.” You can post a question here.
“A woman I did not know called me to help her with something I have always loved to do: write. Certainly it was fate, my involvement destined to be a seed for a fairy tale ending, I thought. I was wrong,” Scott Saalman writes about the moral challenges of agreeing to help someone with their writing at The Morning News.